More than 50 school teachers drawn from private schools across Rivers State have benefited from the donation of cash palliatives by a good Nigerian, Mrs. Stella Ihwechi Akani Olusami.
The event which held at Paradise International School along St. Andrews Street, Rumuobiakani, Port Harcourt on Monday, came as succor to private school teachers who have groaned under the weight of the ubiquitous coronavirus pandemic, as schools have remained closed for the sixth month.
Rivers State-born Mrs. Olusami whose Stella Ihwechi Foundation (SIF) made the donations in conjunction with the Rivers State branch of Association for Formidable Educational Development (AFED), also put smiles on the faces of school proprietors with a gift of undisclosed amounts.
In his welcome address at the occasion, State Controller of AFED, Pastor Joe Udechi described the event as a dream come true, adding that private school teachers remained the worst hit in the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic.
He regretted that teachers in private institutions have turned beggars while many others took to menial jobs for family upkeep and survival.
Pastor Udechifurther described the donor as an answered prayer, narrating how he met her in Lagos where he had gone for a meeting of AFED State Controllers.
“It was a stroke of providence when my National President introduced Stella Ihwechi as a very useful ally to AFED in Lagos; and that she donated palliatives to indigent street childrenand our suffering teachers”, he said, adding that the meeting gave ample chance for further discussions which led to her acceptance to do the same for the body in Rivers State.
“In Malachi 3 vs 16, the bible says when you do something good in the heart of God; when you touch lives, a book of remembrance will be written because of you. Today, a book of remembrance will be written because of Stella Ihwechi Foundation. It will be written because of Association for Formidable Educational Development, the umbrella for low cost schools. God will remember us now and in eternity”, he prayed as the crowd echoed 'amen'.
In her speech, the CEO of Stella Ihwechi Foundation, Mrs. Stella Ihwechi Akani Olusami said the gesture was borne out of deep-seated passion to help the needy in society, adding that she enjoyed an inner peace when she touches the life of someone positively.
“I didn't start the foundation big. The first project I did was the sum of three thousand Naira. I graduated to fifty and to seventy; to one hundred and now we are in millions!
“I was a drunkard's kid and I have always had the dream that one day, I will gather 500 children of drunkards and give them gifts and pay their school fees”, she said and advised the teachers to think out of the box by investing in other areas to complement their meagre income.
A beneficiary of the palliative, Emudayoko Oluwakemi who teaches at Golden Child Development Center, Port Harcourt said she was happy and blessed to be remembered after the untold sufferings she and other colleagues went through for these six months.
She said the gesture is an indication that teachers are being appreciated as important in the society and prayed God to bless the donor abundantly.
The proprietor of Williams Academy, Port Harcourt, Mr. Uche Nwekpe described the event as an accomplishment. He praised Stella Ihwechi Foundation for the laudable gesture and urged government to do the needful.
“We understand that the downfall in oil has seriously affected the economy but government should not abdicate their responsibilities. The government ought to provide palliatives to citizens rather than leaving it for individuals”, he said.
Nwekpe who is the State Secretary of AFED lauded revealed that about 60 proprietors of private schools have also benefitted from donation of palliatives, adding that the association is working assiduously to give more palliatives to teachers.
Among dignitaries present at the event was Professor G.E. Omokhua of the University of Port Harcourt who also double as Patron of AFED and mother of the donor, Madam Akani.