•US-based doctor opens free school for indigent pupils in Abia
Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia
Recently, an Abia State indigene in the United States opened a school in the state. The institution, Emmanuel International School, is located at Ugwuavo, Arochukwu, Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State.
The proprietor of the school, Dr. Emmanuel Nwadeyi, recalled that he passed through hard times to become one of the most reputable medical practitioners in the United States. He stated that whatever he has become today is courtesy of the society in which he grew up.
Nwadeyi said he was moved to sow a seed in the same society that nurtured him by establishing the school in his community to serve mainly the less-privileged. He assured that the school would be affiliated to some American universities.
“It is a free school project that offers free transportation, two square meals, free uniform, books and access to medical care for the pupils. We have started with primary school; the pioneer students will be the ones that we will use to establish the secondary school on graduation.
“I was inspired to do this because I want to give back to the society that shaped me. I had thought of how to impact on the community that has done so much for me.
“While I was growing up, I always thought about how my parents stood by me, how I struggled to do what I did. I recall that I had schoolmates who were less privileged than I was. They didn’t have parents or people to help them at that time. Some of them were very bright, and they even coached me while we were in school. But because they didn’t have any assistance, most of them were not able to make it to the university. Those of them who dropped by the wayside are now doing what they were not called to do.
“So, I thought that, since I have the opportunity, I would like to make a difference. And now that I think that God has given me the resources and opportunity, I feel that I should go back to the vulnerable community, knowing full well that among them there are engineers, doctors and lawyers, among others. The simple fact that they have nobody to push them up means that they might end up on the wayside just like my old friends did.
“Some of those people today drive Keke-NAPEP and okada while some are doing other menial jobs. But I know that these were the guys that were teaching me Mathematics, English Language and other subjects, and I know that they could have been engineers, doctors and lawyers, too.
“So I feel that, among the vulnerable, there are intelligent people because God did not create anybody half-baked. Everyone created by God is perfect because He says that we are the masterpiece of his creation.
“Education is an invaluable thing that everybody must have. If one has education, like a lawyer, for instance, one cannot be pushed around because one knows the law. If one is an engineer, one is confident that one can build even skyscrapers. That confidence gives one the biggest assets one can have. That is why it is called discipline; it is one’s area of authority. It is very important, but one cannot have that discipline without being disciplined. It starts from basic education. It is the basic education because if one has a good start, one will finish well.
“I have a vision that, among the 40 students that I am taking in, in 10 to 12 years to come, three or four of them will study in any field of their choice. I want to see them go further, I want to see lawyers, doctors among them. That is the goal.
“I have approached two universities in the US and they have guaranteed me that they would give the school a curriculum that the students would study and pass their exams. The idea is that if they pass, the school would offer them straight scholarship to university.
“I want teachers that are dedicated. Not that they must be the youngest graduates, but I want the type that I had when I went to school. They are those that would be dedicated to the future of the children – teachers who know their students, get involved in helping them with their home work, moral education, and religious education.
“The privileged ones should always think of what they can do for a society that helped to raise them. I know when one was growing up, there were other family members that helped to shape one’s behaviour. If they could not scold one, they would tell one’s father whatever the individual had done. If one wants to give back, one should not give just because the recipient is one’s brother or sister. Give because you don’t know who you are going to touch.
“So, my advice is that people should sit back and think, ‘what am I going to contribute to the society so that when I’m gone, I will be remembered for it?’
Nwadeyi said that he was not opening the school because of any selfish interest.
“I have been giving to the society in the past 15 years. So far, I have no regrets. Even when one does wrong, one will also learn a lesson from it. What is bad is when you do wrong and refuse to correct your steps.
“But while growing up, I saw myself changing positively, and when I look at where I am today, I just laugh and give thanks to God,” Nwadeyi said.