Community Compassion Initiative (CCI), a non-profit charity organisation registered in Nigeria, in line with its vision of striving to contribute to the overall wholeness of people in indigent communities, is engaging with the wider community and the general public for its 2nd Annual Lecture titled “Personal and Community Well-being: Promoting Good Mental Health,”.
The annual lecture is scheduled to take place on Saturday 25th of September 2021 via Zoom platform, and it is open to the general public. The speaker, Dr. Vivian O. Ikem is a UK certified Mental Health First Aider, NLP certified life coach and the author of Shadows in the Mirror; The Many Faces of Depression. Participation is totally FREE and interested members of the public can register via https://bit.ly/joelecture.
According to Joy Oguchi, the acting Chairman of CCI’s Board of Trustees, “the goal of the 2021 annual lecture is to highlight the fundamentals and connectivity between the mental health of individual members of a community and how it affects the overall well-being of that community. When more and more people in the community are well, it helps to build a wholesome community.
When people have emotional and mental stability, our effort to empower them to make quality lives for themselves will be achieved. They are all interwoven,” she says. The lecture does not only aim to educate the public on the fundamentals of their mental and emotional health and how to care for themselves but also to help community members to see their role in supporting each other to promote mentally and emotionally healthy communities. “We all need each other,” Oguchi said.
“Nobody is too poor to lend a helping hand to his neighbour”, says Elder Joseph Ezeagwula, the 87-year-old founder of Community Compassion Initiative. Ezeagwula, despite his humble economic status, sought ways to help people who are less privileged than himself by devising creative means of reaching out to the poor.
He recalls how he started the “One Good Meal” initiative, where he identified a restaurant in his community and deposited money periodically to feed people who couldn’t afford one good meal a day, a programme he supported for several years. He handed out meal tickets to such people he met during the course of his day, who through intentional interactions he found out could not boast of a decent meal that day, including; mechanics, apprentices, hawkers, etc.
They would present a ticket each time at the restaurant for a good meal, at no cost to them. Through the corporate umbrella of CCI Ezeagwula’s benevolent initiatives have been advanced and the organisation has carried out several outreaches to widows, children and the elderly. Until recently, CCI has been funded through personal funds and contributions of family members and a few friends.
On its mission to “alleviate the plights of the under-previledged and vulnerable in indigent communities, CCI has engaged in various charitable projects since its founding in 2006. Over the years, CCI has collaborated with local communities to carry out various social impact projects, including; Free Vocational Trainings, Education Assistance, Widows Assistance, Food Distribution programs, as well as Health Education, Market Sanitation and free Medical Screening for the elderly in different communities across Nigeria.
Eddy Lekwa, the head of Projects & Logistics, recounts one of CCI’s classic Education Assistance projects which was carried out in the Makoko Riverine Community in Lagos, where CCI supported God’s work Nursery and Primary school by providing 50% tuition scholarship to its pupils, donated new school uniforms and school supplies to the pupils and also supported teaching and learning with the donation of Teaching Modules/Visual Aids for the Kindergarten and lower primary classes.
According to Lekwa, CCI has carried out community impact projects every quarter of 2021; Food Distribution in the first quarter, where boxes stuffed with nonperishable food items were distributed. For the second quarter, CCI upgraded its Skills Acquisition Program where 35 participants graduated after successful completion.
Beyond the intensive and hands-on vocational training in Catering, Make-up/Auto Gele, Hairdressing/Wig Making and Laptop/Phone Repair, CCI partnered with local businesses to provide 3 months internship opportunity to participants who successfully completed the training, which is currently on-going.
In addition, after successfully completing the internship, each intern will receive a “Business in a Box” start-up kit to help them kick-start their small businesses. Another aspect of the Skills Acquisition program that further stands CCI’s program apart from others, is the continuous mentoring program designed to support the new small business owners to help them stand on their own, Lekwa explains.
In the words of Kingsley Obi, one of the 2021 participants, “CCI gave me an opportunity of a lifetime and I am glad I did not miss it”. Kingsley was part of the Hair and Wig Making Class and also qualified for internship due to his outstanding performance in the programme.
The 3rd quarter Back to School Project took place last Saturday, the 11th of September with an outreach to Zion Rhema Schools, a low-cost nursery and primary school and the impoverished Ikota community in Ajah, where the school is located. CCI distributed 200 school bags, stuffed with essential school supplies, including books and water bottles and a nutrition packed lunch.