By Etop Ekanem & Olayinka Latona
Super Eagles and Portsmouth of England forward, John Utaka, has launched a foundation aimed at empowering Nigerian youths especially those at the grassroots. The foundation, known as John Utaka Foundation, was planned in a way that will impact on children and youth globally.
Utaka who disclosed this in Lagos last week during a media briefing said: â€œI believe that giving back to the society is very essential because I was in the system before I traveled abroad where I started playing my professional football. I started on the streets like most children in Nigeria. But I was fortunate to travel abroad where I was fortunate to be playing in one of the best football leagues in the world.
â€œI want people to understand that one has to remember where he came from. I believe that it is necessary for me to give back to the community and that is the reason I am doing this work.
â€œWe all know the importance of education. Education is a human right and it should not be denied any child. That is the reason I believe that many children around the world will benefit from what we are doing in John Utaka Foundation.â€
He said the foundation would work in partnership with other organisations like Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to empower the youth through providing them scholarships.
It would also empower the youth through work placements in Nigeria and overseas, enabling them to gain training and vocational skills through the foundationâ€™s international partners.
Utaka said the foundation will also generate activities which would promote the arts, culture and sports, movies, football, photography and music to stimulate the development of young people.
In her remarks, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Foundation, Mrs Comfort Ani, who also is a World Vice President of the Young Women Christian Association, said Utaka Foundation was standing on the foundation of a young man who is passionate about finding lasting solutions to social problems in the country.
Ani said that if young men would cultivate the kind of passion Utaka has for his community and country, the problems of the country would be solved easily.
According to her, the Foundation has visited some charity organisations like Hearts of Gold Childrenâ€™s Hospice in Surulere, Lagos as a sign of its commitment to support them.
The President of the Foundation, Ghana_born Michael Djaba saidt the John Utaka Foundation would serve as an example to other such foundations started by football stars with its commitment to making a difference in the lives of young people globally.
Djaba said that the Foundation has set up a training Centre in Enugu, where Utaka was born as well as other places to ensure the dream of making a difference in the lives of the young people through empowering them in many ways will be realized.