By Sam Otti
A 400 level student, College of Medicine, Imo State University (IMSU), Owerri, Nnamdi Opara, can testify that heaven hears the entreaties of a distressed soul. With aging parents, Nnamdi found himself in a rough sea that threatened to flounder his academic dream.
As a medical student, the journey became so tough that he had to do menial jobs to support himself and his siblings. Despite the challenges, academically, he remained an eagle that never perched on low ground.
Nnamdi, who wants to become a cardiologist, kept knocking on every door for help. He ignored cynicism, and kept up the fight to bag a degree. Relief came to him recently, when he stumbled on JEOF’s Stay in School Scholarship Programme on the internet. Curiously, he sent a letter and followed up with the required application document and interviews.
He was finally selected among the new beneficiaries of JEOF scholarship, with N100,000 per annum to cover his tuition and other needs at school. The scholarship would continue throughout the duration of his programme.
Nnamdi had a similar experience with the founder of JEOF Foundation, High Chief Ademola Oladaiye, who passed through the eye of a needle during his undergraduate days at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). He lived on N50.00 for 13 weeks in a semester. Despite his financial challenges, he graduated with a First Class degree in Mathematics.
Shortly after graduation, Oladaiye went for an MBA at the University of Lagos. He had a fulfilling career in the banking sector where he worked his steps to the top before bowing out graciously. He is presently the Chief Executive Officer, Initiative Finance Limited.
He told Campus Sun that he founded the Joseph and Eunice Oladaiye Foundation (JOEF) to immortalize the ideals of his heroic parents and also save other children from losing the opportunity of going to school.
The Programme Director of the foundation, Mrs Clare Henshaw, stated that Nnamdi was one of the 18 less- privileged students and youths that have received full scholarship from the foundation in 2016. She said several children and youths were still on the list for future support.
According to her, JEOF’s Stay in School programme offers full scholarship to deserving orphaned and vulnerable children/youths from less- privileged background that cannot meet up with the cost of their tuition fees, and also provides mentorship and psycho-social support. The scholarship programme cuts across primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in the country, she said.
Henshaw, a graduate of the University of Lagos, said education remains the most effective strategy to tackle poverty, noting that it plays a vital role in human, community and national development.
Clare said a key focus of the scholarship was to identify intelligent youths in tertiary institutions by supporting them to become self-reliant and in turn help them break the cycle of poverty in their respective families and communities at large.
She said the foundation recently provided fund to support a very intelligent lady in 400 level Mass Communication, who was on the verge of dropping out of school due to lack of fund.
“Her widowed mother had borrowed so much to send her to school but during her daughter’s final year, her sources of soft loan refused to give any further. She will be graduating with a second class upper in a few months,” she added.
Henshaw said the foundation has several requests for support from indigent but brilliant students and implored kind- hearted individuals to support its good work to serve humanity.