27th May, 2010
The best is to know the ideals and keep it alive, says Okoli
Nigeria, has lost some many lives of great repute to various diseases, some detected while some not detected. How better can we remember the dead to keep their ideals alive and further combat the cause of their death from reoccurring. Chief Mrs. Stella Okoli, Chairman, Board of Director of Chike Okoli Foundation, commented on this, while she recalls the death of her son Chike Okoli, who died of an undetected coronary artery disease that led to the formation of the Chike Okoli Foundation in 2006 in this except:
By Michael Orie
How best can we celebrate the death, mostly the young that died of undetected disease.
The best is to know the ideals the child lived for and keep it alive. The Chike Okoli Foundation(COF), is a non-profit organisation that we founded in 2006, in memory of my son late Chike Edward Okoli, a talented lawyer and entrepreneur who passed on suddenly due to an undetected coronary artery disease. Chika, was a bubbly and effervescent young man, he died five days after his 25th birthday. To honour his young and eventful life, the family set up the foundation to promote entrepreneurship which was his life’s passion and also to raise awareness while helping to combat cardiovascular disease(CVDs), which was the cause of his death. His dream in life was to help everyone he met , tell a better story and that is the objective of the foundation; to fight poverty and disease by encouraging entrepreneurship and calling attention to Cardio Vascular Disease(CVDs) respectively-two major contemporary killers that our great country Nigeria is facing.
It is based on our Vision, which is to ensure that every young Nigeria is aware of the diseases and equipped with entrepreneurial skill to support the building of a healthy and prosperous nation and our mission , to foster lifestyle change, by promoting awareness about CVDs and helping to build an entrepreneurial Culture among young Nigerians.
The focus of the foundation is to make every young Nigeria on in the street and aware of the danger the risk of cardiovascular health and the opportunities/intervention, as well as the available preventive and treatment option and also ensuring that every young Nigeria is adequately equipped with entrepreneurial skill to enable him or her set up and manage a profitable business.
In the five years, since it was established, COF has notched up some significant achievement in concert with partner like the Lagos State Government, Emzor Pharmaceuticals, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, AISEC, Ekulo International Limited, AZ Petroleum, First Bank of Nigeria as well as Unizik Akwa, in line with its avowed mission to combat CVD and encourage entrepreneurship. The accomplishments includes the setting up of the Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurship Studies at Unizik, Akwa; Organization of 3 editions of rags to riches seminars to mark the international Day against Poverty; holding the annual Chike Okoli International Conference on Entrepreneurship, undertaking regular cardiovascular health awareness campaigns and free heart screening at different location including Eric Moore High, Surelere; ASPAMDA market, Ikorodu central Moto Park, LASPOTECH, Federal College of Education, FCT ( Technical) Akoka, Atlantic Hall, over 300 pharmacists around Lagos state and Unizik Awka amongst other.
It has reached 652,000 people since May 2006 through the CVD outreach programme and we have reached many more people through our print materials as well as weekly column in some Newspaper.
One remarkable achievement of the foundation is the inclusion of entrepreneurial study in a university wide course rectified by the Nigerian University Commission (NUC) and Federal Government. This course is being taken by all 200 level student of Unizik, Awaka.
How well are you promoting Entrepreneurship programme
With 70 pre cent of Nigerians Living on less than $1 a day, with unemployment rate at 28 percent and our school curriculum not focusing on entrepreneurship, COF is working to build a new corp of business leaders. The foundation established the Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies (COCES) at Unizik, Awka to create, as much as possible, the ideals Chike lived for. The centre focuses on ICT, auto mechanics, and home management-fashion and designing bakery, bead making, soap making, salon and cloth dyeing. In 3 years, the centre has trained and equipped over 460 young people in the science and spirit of entrepreneurial ship, and over 130 youth are undergoing practical, skill based training in various fields. The centre also organise entrepreneurial workshop, seminars and conference for artisans, scholars, student and members of the public. Some of these included the annual rag to riches seminars to mark the International Day against Poverty.
There is no foundation to day that those not have challenges but we have learnt to turn our to opportunities and stepping stones to forge with the ideals its formation. But one major is Funding of the foundation, reaching the entire population and reaching the right people, and the ability of the victims to open up, some prefer to die in silence, thinking that it is only for the rich. Our various programme is targeted towards those on the street and not for the selective class.
To celebrate it anniversary, the Chike foundation will hold the 4th edition of the Heart and Soul Gala on Saturday June5, 2010 an annual social gathering to celebrate the activities of the foundation as well as its partners, raise funds to prosecute it programmes and create awareness about Cardiovascular diseases amongst stakeholders. We call on all well meaning Nigeria to support our cause as we work towards eradicating poverty and disease.
To help stem the tide of ceaseless death from CVD which claims 300 Nigerian lives daily, help tame poverty not by giving people fish but by teaching them how to fish by imparting entrepreneurial skills.