Category Five: Africa’s Beacon of Hope Awards for the Development and Promotion of Education-to recognize Top-Ten Africa wealthy individuals and entrepreneurs who devote their fortunes to the development and promotion of education in Africa.
Although, a private university, the 60 per cent subsidy from Atiku Abubakar has enabled children of both the rich and the poor to gain access to world-class education. “Gifted children, regardless of their parental background, are also afforded opportunity to better their fortune in the university, according to statement by Atiku’s media office.
In August 2013, Atiku sponsored a students’ essay contest to generate solutions to Nigeria’s most pressing institutional educational challenges on the topic “More Learning to More People: How can Nigeria be more innovative in bridging its literacy and skills gap?”. The joint first prize went to Kenechukwu Nneka, Lily Nwagbo and Emeka Chigozie Ezekwesiri.In 2011, while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the US Peace Corps, the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) honoured Atiku Abubakar with the prestigious Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award. At the presentation of the award, the National Peace Corps Association described Atiku Abubakar as one individual who contributed to the development of higher education on the continent of Africa. "No private businessman in Africa has worked harder for democracy or contributed more to the progress of higher education than Atiku Abubakar," the NPCA said. In 2012 Atiku donated $750,000 to the National Peace Corps Association in the United States, "to fund a new initiative featuring global leaders who will discuss Peace Corps's impact." It was the largest ever individual donation in the Association's history.
Her NGO, the Rose of Sharon Foundation (RoSF) also design and execute programmes that give financial independence and educational opportunities to widows, their children and orphans. The organization has empowered about 970 widows – 11 of whom are in university, and has awarded scholarships to 1,366 widow’s children and 72 orphans Since its inception. It also gives loans to widows at interest free and the scholarships have no conditions attached. It has also provided accommodation for residential/business purposes for 82 widows.
Folorunso Alakija was born in 1951 to the family of Chief L. A. Ogbara in Ikorodu, Lagos State. At age seven, she travelled to the United Kingdom to begin a four-year primary education at Dinorben School for Girls in Hafodunos Hall in Llangernyw, Wales. After returning to Nigeria, she attended Muslim High School Sagamu Ogun State, Nigeria. Afterwards, she returned abroad for her secretarial studies at Pitman's Central College, London. She also studied fashion design at the American College, London and the Central School of Fashion.
He started her career in 1974 as an executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprises, Lagos, Nigeria. She moved on to the former First National Bank of Chicago-now FinBank now acquired by First City Monument Bank where she worked for some years before establishing a tailoring company called Supreme Stitches. It rose to prominence and fame within a few years, and later as Rose of Sharon House of Fashion, which became a household name.
In May 1993, Folorunsho applied for the allocation of an oil prospecting license (OPL). The license to explore for oil on a 617,000-acre block—now referred to as OPL 216—was granted to Alakija's company, Famfa Limited. This is where the real journey to her wealth actually began.
In 2014, Folorunsho Alakija was listed as the 96th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes, and in May 2015 two Nigerian women, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Alakija were listed among the world's 100 most powerful women according to Forbes.
Okorocha is the President, Nigeria Red Cross Society, President, Rochas Group of Companies Limited, Pro Chancellor, African Business School and President/Founder, Rochas Foundation Inc, a charity organization comprising a number of special schools that are spread all over Nigeria that gives scholarship to the less privileged children in the Nigerian society.
Rochas Foundation which was incorporated on the 24th of February 1998, has a firm commitment to the work of charity and philanthropy. The foundation says its aim is to build a credible future for Africans and the world at large by ensuring every child has access to free and qualitative education. The foundation’s vision for education is comprehensive and focused on under privileged and vulnerable children in Africa.
Okorocha’s difficulty in attending school as a child gave rise to the birth of this cause of bringing children out of misery, poverty and social oblivion. Rochas Foundation build schools that offer free education to the poorest of the poor in the society and rehabilitate abandoned children by providing free education in a way that is accessible to all, while providing them with food and clothing.
Gebregeorgis grew up in the town of Negelle Borena, about 12 hours from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. His mother could not read, and his father could only decipher a few words, but he was committed to providing his son with an education. At age 19, he picked up his first book outside of school. ‘“Books saved my life”, Yohannes says”. From this point on, Gegregeorgis sought to read what he could get his hands on. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Yohannes Gebregeorgis was politically active and joined the resistance against the ruling military dictatorship of Ethiopia, the Derg. He sought political asylum in the United States and emigrated there in 1982. Once in the States, Gebregeorgis pursued his B.A. and eventually got his Masters of Library Science at the University of Texas. He was then offered a job as the children’s librarian at the San Francisco Public Library. In 1998, Ethiopia Reads, the program dedicated to fostering literacy in Ethiopia, was born. In 2002, Gebregeorgis quit his job at the San Francisco Public Library and moved back to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with 15,000 books and ready to open his first free library for children. On April 5, 2003, the Shola Children’s Library was opened for the children of Ethiopia. Since then, the organization has helped open 10 free school libraries. The organization also sponsors the Mobile Donkey Libraries program, designed to bring books to children in rural parts of the country where they cannot access one of the many other libraries Ethiopia Reads sponsors. Ethiopia Reads also publishes books in Amharic for young Ethiopian readers.
Father is the founder of Madonna University (in Okija, Ihiala, Anambra State), Caritas University (in Emene, Enugu State), OSISATECH Polytechnic (also in Enugu), Our Saviour College of Education and Our Saviour Primary and Secondary Schools. He is also the brain behind Our Saviour Diagnostic Centres, Madonn Hospitals, the Fathers, Sisters and Brothers of Jesus and the Saviour Congregations
Father Edeh also established the Madonna International Charity Peace Award (MICPA). This Charity Peace Award has been a prime supporter of financial relief efforts to natural disaster stricken areas like the earthquake devastation in Haiti and the tsunami crisis in Asia. The Award has also provided relief and support to victims of religious extremism in Nigeria. The Award has also gone to some persons and organizations that have been taking care of orphans, Motherless Babies, and displaced people in places like Haiti, Cambodia, India, Philippines, England, USA and Cameroon. Gender equality is also an area where Father Edeh has made tremendous strides. In a male dominated society like Nigeria, he has been the biggest promoter of women education, through the establishment of dedicated institutions solely for the education of women, and also instituting a gender equality employment policy at all the institutions he has established.
Father Edeh had his first personal experience of practical charity work in 1968 when during the early days of the Biafran war, he had to work at three Caritas feeding centers in and around Awo-Omamma. (Caritas is a Catholic non-governmental organization that played a major role in providing Food, medicine and clothing to Biafra children during the Biafra war). This experience as he recounted provoked in him a desire to serve humanity through practical and effective charity. Thus, after the war he pursued and gained admission into the theology department of Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, Nigeria for his theological studies in 1972.
Jim Ovia is a noted philanthropist and has headed numerous Non-Governmental Organisations at various times including being the first President of the Nigeria Internet Group (2001-2003). He is the founder and Chairman of Mankind United to Support Total Education (MUSTE), a philanthropic organization focused on providing scholarship for the less privileged, of which some of the beneficiaries are now qualified professionals in diverse fields. He is also the founder of the Youth Empowerment / ICT Foundation, which focuses on improving the socio-economic welfare of Nigerian youths by inspiring and motivating them to embrace Information and communication technology.
Mr. Jim Ovia founded the Jim Ovia Scholarship Programme in 1998. The programme has provided financial aid to outstanding Nigeria youths. The scholarship was previously known as the MUSTE scholarship. Eligble awardees are supported for their undergraduate and graduate study for the duration of their program and includes tuition and maintenance allowances. The scheme offers an average of 100 opportunities each year for new applicants while renewing applicants are supported annually, conditional on meeting all eligible requirements of the scholarship. Beneficiaries of the Jim Ovia scholarship receive an annual award of 150,000 Nigerian Naira, renewable for up to the entire duration of the beneficiary’s educational tenure.
There is also the Jim Ovia ICT Entrepreneurs Programme which seek to empower budding entrepreneurs to tap into the emerging ICT market in Africa. The initiative seeks to nurture young entrepreneurs to their full potential over a period of 12 months. A total of 5- 10 of the competitively innovative ideas are selected and funded with the goal of impacting 50 young entrepreneurs annually and selected applicants are trained by world class professionals on developing mobile applications. Beneficiaries are provided access to necessary training, counselling and mentorship throughout the project cycle. This initiative hosts a software application business hackathon where viable and innovative ideas are selected for funding. Selected beneficiaries are awarded up to $30,000 per idea.
In 2012, Jim Ovia gave $6.3 million to the flood relief effort in Nigeria. He also gave $320,000 to help 10 young Nigerian entrepreneurs establish their technology businesses through his Youth Empowerment and ICT Foundation.