By Elizabeth Uwandu
200 level student, Blessing Yakubu, a visually impaired orphan from the University of Jos, UNIJOS, and 300 other young Nigerians were among other students who were empowered as Hill City Foundation, HCF, a non-governmental organisation provided them with mentorship and endowment funds to further their education or enterprises.
Guests at the award ceremony poured encomiums on the NGO for giving the likes of Miss Yakubu, who came all the way from Jos, a sense of belonging and the opportunity to share her intriguing story of grass to grace.
The visually impaired student of the University of Jos, and first born of four children, had lost both parents. While her father died during the 2010 Jos crisis, her mother, who became the breadwinner of the family, lost her life to breast cancer last year.
Her words: “I was in senior secondary school, SS3 when I lost my sight as a result of illness in 2008. I became an orphan within the space eight years as my dad died during the 2010 Jos crisis and my mum followed suit in 2018 due to breast cancer.
“Having congenital blindness made me repeat class, as I couldn’t cope in Science class any longer. I had to start from SS1 where I was placed in the Arts class. From there, I wrote the West African Examination Council, WAEC exam in 2013 with the aid of Braille.
“However, life became unbearable for me and my siblings, but, succour came in 2017 after I had applied to HCF in 2017 but got the support in 2018 during my 200L. Today, I get N100,000 because of my challenge and educational needs. Also, my younger sister is a beneficiary of the Hill City Foundation Educational Support scholarship. We are grateful to them for bringing hope to us again,” she said.
For Ajayi Martins, another beneficiary of HCF, his life-long passion of becoming an entrepreneur in recycling business has been fulfilled. “I got to know of HCF through my pastor, Pastor Momodu in Port Harcourt, I applied for the first time in 2016 and I got it; from 2016 to 2018 when I graduated, I have been a beneficiary.
Founder and lead coordinator of Hill City Foundation, Mr Obi Imemba said the NGO started in 2004 with five staff. “Since then, we have empowered over 2000 individuals with skills, and monetary provision that ranged from N85,000 to N100,000 yearly.
Imemba said love for humanity and a mandate from God pushed him into setting up the foundation with like minds.