Grace Foundation Celebrates 10 Years of Impacting Lives Amidst Economic Downturn
By Yemisi Suleiman
Hands Up for Nigeria Programme, an annual event organised by the Grace Foundation, a registered NGO passionate about the well-being of its host community, recently marked its 10th year of impacting on lives of people especially residents in the Satellite Town, Lagos axis.
Speaking during this year’s edition of the the event, which marked its 10th edition and was held at the First Bank Sports Field, Satellite Town, Lagos, the President, The Grace Foundation, Philip Okuabor, said the foundation has been able to reach over fifteen thousand people over the years with free food, clothing, educational materials and medicals despite the nation’s economic downturn.
Okuabor, who revealed however that the last 10 years have not been without challenges, noted, “The main issue has been how to reach corporate people to see actually what we are doing. I know there are charlatans in the market – NGOs that claim they do things but they do virtually nothing.
Speaking further, Okuabor, who explained that the Grace Foundation is not 10 years old, noted, ‘The NGO itself was started in 2007. However, this particular programme, the Hands Up for Nigeria Programme, is 10 years old.
So, the NGO itself is older than that, because we have been doing other things. At that time, mostly in the church, when we go to camp meetings and conferences, we feed students who cannot feed themselves. We were involved in that for many years before we started this flagship programme.”
He said further that the funding for the programmes has always come from the church. He noted however that the magnitude of beneficiaries is getting larger and larger day by day.
“Looking at the economic situation of the country, donors are becoming a little more sceptical in bringing out their monies for programmes. It is not because there’s no money in Nigeria, there is money however, you have to do to reach where money is.”, he added.
“We can’t easily raise the money. What we wanted was sponsorship from these companies. But we haven’t been able to get many major sponsorships for things like these and that is where there is a problem”, he lamented.
Stressing that getting money to take care of the numerous needs of the less privileged in the society has been a vivacious circle, the Foundation president said, “We, members we generate money from within us and then we talk to people in the church. And this it is an advantage that we attached this to a church as such we have a base to solicit funds from and yet it has not been that easy.”
He said further that this year has been particularly more challenging, adding, We all know what the economic situation is. When the fuel price went up, all facets of the economy were affected. And people are complaining here and there; while businesses are running at very low capacity. So people are withholding their money for their families. They are not so forthcoming with their monies like they used to be.”
He said however that despite the challenges, the Foundation has been relentless with its mission to help the needy.
“Our passion is clear about what we want to do. And we just have to do it. Let me be honest with you. At some point, I was like hearing voices are you sure you would be able to do this? Are you sure you will do it? Are you sure you will not postpone it? But you see, being a believer, I carried on like Jesus would say, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” And that’s what I kept doing. And today they are evening telling me that there are some food items still left after everyone present has been given a pack. And I’m wondering hey, my God of multiplication does not fail me.”