Founder of Sir Emeka Offor Foundation
Sir Emeka Offor is the founder of Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF), a philanthropic organization he set up in the early 1990s. His mission is to help people in need become independent and self-reliant. Through a variety of creative programmes of his foundation, Offor is striving to create a model for development effort across Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
The foundation is positioned to intervene in the sufferings of the less privileged in society, providing support in the areas of human capacity development, skills acquisition and establishment of small and medium enterprises and cooperative societies. It has impacted positively the lives of many Nigerians through a number of programmes and projects undertaken.
The key programmes include youth empowerment, widows’ cooperatives and education. Others are health services and infrastructure development. It has also built partnerships with international organisations, such as Books for Africa, Rotary International and Mainz Hospital Research for furthering the goal of impacting lives and living conditions in Nigeria.
The foundation has developed a multi-faceted approach to education in line with its understanding that education is the cornerstone of the future. This includes a scholarship programme that provides comprehensive university scholarships to academically gifted but economically disadvantaged students.
More than 120 scholarships have been granted, according to the records of the foundation. Further to that, when a recipient graduates first in a class, the student is honoured with a car and a full-time employment within the Chrome Group of Companies owned by the founder.
The foundation also runs an aggressive programme of building model schools and classrooms furnished with internet facilities and modern equipment. This provides enabling environments for learning that enhances students’ academic performance.
SEOF carries out empowerment interventions through micro-finance grants and loans targeted at lifting industrious, low income earners. It runs motorcycle transit venture meant to empower youths to embrace productive lives. Under the scheme, motorcycles are purchased and registered by the foundation and beneficiaries are given fifteen months to repay the cost. The proceeds are reinvested to provide a new set of motorcycles for a new set of beneficiaries the following year.
Basic training is provided for the motorcycle operators on how to manage the business under the scheme. Several recipients are said to have successfully used the scheme as a stepping stone into prospering transportation enterprises with commercial buses. The programme has helped over 500 people, according to the records of the foundation – each with his testimony of how a simple grant has changed lives.
Health is another area of SEOF’s organized interventions. It has invested in health services to make a targeted community a better place to live. Free rural medical consultations are provided, making it possible for those who rarely receive medical treatment to be attended to by medical experts. Health posts are constructed for this purpose within the communities, making the medical services regular.
The foundation has constructed a self-contained 25-room ward at the National Orthopedic Hospital, Enugu to further serve patients in the eastern region. SEOF has joined forces with Rotary International with a donation of $250,000 to assist in the polio eradication initiative in parts of northern Nigeria.
Another healthcare initiative of the foundation is in respect of the fight against glaucoma. It has made a €100,000 glaucoma research grant to the department of ophthalmology in University of Mainz, Germany. It has also established a Nigerian fellowship for cataract surgery and glaucoma management in the same University.
SEOF also organises emergency health responses to internally displaced persons. In October 2012, it organised medical missions to camps of people displaced by floods in Anambra State and donated foods and other basic necessities.