Rochas Okorocha: Founder of Rochas Foundation

His Excellency, Anayo Rochas Okorocha is the light bearer for Rochas foundation, which started in 1998. His vision is to make education free and accessible to every less privileged African child, regardless of tribe, religion or social status. He has a dream to build the first foundation tree growing out of Africa, providing educational shelter for the less privileged all over the world.

The foundation is, for him, a covenant with his creator to give educational aids to the hopeless. It offers free tuition, books, wears, feeding, medical care, boarding facilities and so on for the students and pupils presently numbering 6,800 and a record of about 5,200 graduates.

Solely funded by Rochas group of companies, the foundation has in its portfolio 12 schools across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria, including a primary school and an Africa-focused Rochas Foundation College of Africa in Owerri, Imo State. The college, which started in 2015, is on a mission to provide free, comprehensive and qualitative education to under privileged children across Africa while promoting unity in diversity. It caters for over 150 students from 17 African countries with teachers drawn from different parts of the continent.

Rochas Foundation stands out as a force to heal the African continent of poverty by taking millions of African children from the streets to the classroom. It is offering education as the best gift to the African child and an escape route from poverty. Through the educational programmes of the foundation, help is on the way for Africa’s under privileged and vulnerable children.

There is an opportunity to rescue the delinquent as well as the abused through access to free, qualitative education, shelter, food, clothing and counseling. The school curriculum is structured on the basis of individual guidance for all students.

The operation of the foundation outside the educational sector is undertaken through subsidiary foundations. These include SNARP, which focuses on providing shelter for widows, orphans and the homeless in apparently abandoned communities. Up to 305 homes have been built for this purpose, according to its records.

Another subsidiary – ARO Foundation undertakes the provision of emergency educational programmes for children in internally displaced persons’ camps. Its purpose is to ensure that all children have basic education, all women are empowered and that peace and kindness reign globally.

ELFREEDA Foundation provides shelter and rehabilitation for vulnerable women and children, who have no homes or means of livelihood. JUREMI Foundation provides aid and training to physically and non-physically challenged persons. It also empowers the less privileged through scholarships.

Rochas Foundation colleges operate the Nigerian basic school curriculum with records of high academic performance over the years. Over 12 subjects of choice are taught at the colleges, which are further enriched with non-academic skills development in sports, music, communication, sewing, arts and crafts, among others.

Exceptionally brilliant students are sent to the United States annually on an exchange programme as a means of encouraging hard work and diligence among staff and students. It encompasses a broad based education, employing international best practices and tools to meet the needs of the modern world.

The colleges admits smart, brilliant and talented but less privileged orphans and indigent children whose parents cannot afford to send them to school due to financial constraints. Rochas Foundation speaks loudly of its passion in offering the children exciting, stimulating and rich curriculum, based on real reasons for learning. It is driven by a conviction that ‘every child counts’ and therefore should have an opportunity to develop the academic, creative, social and moral skills needed to secure and fulfill a great future for self and for society.

The schools are designed to offer a unique experience of living and learning in exciting environments dedicated to the highest level of academic achievement and personal development. Boarding houses are designed to give students comfortable personal space and facilities for studies outside of the classrooms.

Experienced staff are duty bound to look after the students based on clear boarding policy guidelines. Each boarding house has a house parent, a tutor, a matron and a patron all resident. Sound staff-student relationships are fostered and students’ privacy respected.

The colleges have stringent guidelines on discipline with sanctions that counter bullying and enforce sound morals and proper behaviour among students. The provision of healthy, balanced and nutritious diets with choices is a standard for Rochas Foundation colleges.

The schools offer an environment for religious tolerance, equal opportunity and respect for others and their views. It enhances understanding of rights and responsibilities that ensure communal peace and harmony. The diversity of cultures and even nationalities provides a good opportunity to learn from others.

Free provision of everything a student needs creates an environment for every child to develop his full potentials and nurture a life-long love for learning. It is an opportunity designed to encourage independent thinking, ensure self-esteem and prepare every child to make a mark in the world.