Her name might not readily ring a bell but she sure has carved a niche for herself among women that have shattered the glass ceiling.
Victoria Nne Rodney, a British citizen of Nigerian origin, recently joined the league of those blazing the trial across the globe by raising the country’s flag for celebration. She was honoured with the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), a prestigious national award by Queen Elizabeth 11.
The Gazette, an official UK Government Public Record, which documented the event, read: “Order of the British Empire Civil Division, Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, St. James’s Palace, London SW1: THE QUEEN has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following promotions in, and appointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire: M.B.E. To be Ordinary Members of the Civil Division of the said Most Excellent Order: Victoria Nne Rodney. Community Champion, Mercy Foundation. Battersea is a district of South West London, England, within the London Borough of Wandsworth. It is located on the south bank of the River Thames. Victoria rose to the top of her world and embraced destiny for the positive recognition of achievement in her life’s mission.”
Victoria was honoured for her professional achievements and commitments over the years through her charity organization, The Mercy Foundation Centre (MFC).
The irony in Victoria’s achievement is that she excelled as a ‘digital champion’, an area many would have considered impossible, given her background.
Victoria established the foundation to help the less privileged through information technology and other basic starter courses. The foundation provided community support, engagement and outreach services to disadvantaged communities in Battersea.
Through it also, community members were brought together in an informal learning environment, tailored to suit the needs of adult learners and the youth.
The Mercy Foundation Centre, also encouraged people to give back to their communities, provided community engagement through utilising work-based learning and skills acquisition. It likewise offered a platform for social inclusion, job brokerage and outreach services to support several other disadvantaged communities.
Victoria recruited volunteers, for both long and short terms, to ensure cost-effective running of the place. She as well, created and negotiated meaningful and long-lasting links with other NGOs and service providers to cater to the several needs of those she took on the task of overseeing.
The mother of five kick-started the charity organization from her house and when the place could no longer accommodate those who wanted to learn, she re-mortgaged her house and moved to a spacious apartment.
She was to later spend the money realised to refurbish her new place and to buy more computers. In 2010, MFC became a UK online centre supported by The Tinder Foundation, now called ‘Good Things Foundation’.
For a long time, this digital champion managed and funded the centre with her resources, funds and through the help of volunteers.
However, as time progressed and the impact of the foundation was being felt across the country, the UK government and other individuals started assisting with funds to ensure the mission was sustained. In order to solidify the centre, she collaborated with the UK online (Learn my way) and Westminster Kingsway College, one of London’s top Further Education colleges that offer academic and vocational courses at all levels.
Victoria’s Mercy Foundation Centre is also accredited by the NCFE, a national awarding organisation, passionate about designing, developing and certifying diverse, nationally recognised qualifications and awards.
The road to success for Victoria was laced with myriads of challenges. The native of Ubakala in Nsukwe, an autonomous community in Umuahia South, Abia State, migrated to the UK, over 38 years ago. She worked with Richmond Council for 14 years until she retired early to establish the Mercy Foundation Centre.
Victoria is a recipient of several awards that include TalkTalk Digital Community Champion-special recommendation award, Talk Talk Special Commendation Digital Hero Award, Digital Community Champion-Special recommendation award from the British Parliament House of Commons for her work to support the community with digital inclusion; Roll of Honour from the Mayor of Wandsworth, Adrian Knowles, Westminster Kingsway College special award as a ‘Community Champion’ and 2013 Mayor’s Roll of Honour, Wandsworth Council’.
Despite her exploits in the UK, Victoria did not lose touch with her roots. With a strong conviction that the task of alleviating poverty should not only be left with multinational charities, she returned to establish Surely Ministry, a charity organization in Adamawa State. Through it, she built two sanitary conveniences in Toungo Clinic and drilled a borehole at Magaji What, Yola Ward by Abuja Road. Despite commissioning the projects on 24 September 2009, Victoria continues to service and maintain the facilities.
Victoria went a notch further to make food donations to the needy in some Adamawa communities. All these made the traditional ruler to honour her with a chieftaincy title.
As a true Nigerian to the core and one always ready to showcase her nationality, Victoria’s house in Park Royal, London, is painted to reflect the Nigerian Green and White national flag colours.
Victoria is known as the undocumented Nigerian diplomat in the United Kingdom. She is known to open her door to all, even as she has also turned her home into a hub for the ‘Nigerian Elders’ Community Forum’. Several Nigerian social activities are reported to have been held in her home.
On 18 September, 2010, she hosted the ‘Forward Nigeria’ event at the prestigious Royal National Hotel, London. The occasion, which attracted the cream de la cream of the Nigerian society in the UK, leaders of African communities, ambassadors, among others, celebrated achievements of Nigerian at home and in the Diaspora. It also served as a platform to get Nigerians committed to nation building.
As a celebrated daughter in Abia State, Victoria holds the chieftaincy title of “Ugo Nwanyi 1 of Nsukwe, conferred on her by Eze Samuel Anyanwoko, Isiala of Ubakala Nsukwe Autonomous Community Ubakala Umuahia, Abia State.
Already, it was gathered that plans are to open liaison offices in Abuja and Lagos, Nigeria’s political and economic capitals. She also has plans to have a number of projects done in Nigeria, using her partners in the United Kingdom as well as several other international organisations that have supported her projects in the UK.
She welcomes the participation and cooperation of other well-meaning Nigerians, the government at various levels, and corporate organisations in the exercise of their corporate social responsibility missions.
She expressed gratitude to members of the Mercy Foundation Centre, UK, as well as their supporters and volunteers all supporters and volunteers for the hard work they have consistently done.