Photo: Pupils of Ebelechukwu school in their welcome song
Nkpor community, Idemili North local government area, Anambra State came alive recently during the official unveiling of the secondary school section of Ebelechukwu Foundation Group of Schools and the graduation ceremony of its nursery and primary school pupils.
Founded by Mr. Timothy Ebelechukwu Chukwukelu and his German wife, Gabriella, it was a day, various stakeholders emphasized the need for people endowed with any talent or wealth to imbibe the think home philosophy.
The couple who founded the Ebelechukwu Foundation has embarked on various community oriented projects. As at the last count, the foundation has provided fourteen water borehole projects to schools and communities, built a skill acquisition center, a health center among other projects.
The traditional ruler of Nkpor community, Igwe Christopher Ibegbunam 11 despite his health status defied every other impediment to be physically present in the ceremony and even endowed a trophy for the school.
In a speech, the traditional ruler urged all well-meaning individuals to think home and work towards improving the welfare of their various communities. He said that it is becoming practically impossible for government to provide everything for the people hence the need for individuals to complement government efforts.
Flanked by the other dignitaries from the state and beyond and the clergy led by Rev. Cannon Elobuisi , Venerable Tim Molokwu and Rev Nonso Molokwu the tape was cut signaling the official commissioning of the two storey building secondary school structure.
Timothy Ebelechukwu, Gabriella and their mother
In a welcome speech, the Director, Ebelechukwu Foundation, Timothy Ebelechukwu Chukwukelu said it’s been a long way in their quest to develop and change the fortunes of the Nkpor people and beyond. He showered praises to God who made it possible for him to leave the shores of the country and his hometown, Nkpor to Germany and for making it possible for him to return home and touch lives too.
He said that some people also advised him to site his development projects in Abuja but he turned down such idea because of his burning zeal to contribute to the welfare of his people.
He said his marriage to a German, Gabriella has translated from marriage of families to the union of both countries both in cultural exchange and educational development projects. He said that his wife epitomizes the saying that behind every successful man, there is a (good) woman not just ordinary woman but a strong and prayerful one whom he described as his best gift ever.
“At Ebelechukwu Foundation, we understand the importance of education and we will not relent until we see the best comes out among the children studying here. The international nexus that the school can offer makes it a great difference. We want to bring up children that can be competitors not only in the international field but on the global economy. We want them to be fit anywhere they go. The vision is like a deposit and as we began to grow, we discovered the purpose we were meant for. My wife is like the vision helper and this made what we conceived years back to manifest in the education sector in 2013 and there is no stopping us since then by God’s grace. It has not been an easy journey but all I know was that there were moments we were in the wilderness but those experiences shaped us for what we are witnessing today” he said.
Igwe and Lolo with their cabinet during a display
Wife of Ebelechukwu, Gabriella in a down to earth speech said that she is happy fulfilling her life dream in Igbo land, Nigeria.
“If I’m in Germany, I’m just like every other person but when I met my husband, Timothy Ebelechukwu, my life changed especially when I remember that God has special plan for us. God gave us a special and great vision and sometimes when things get tough, my husband will say, “I will exalt you on eagle’s wings” and that is what is happening today.
“We’ve been married for almost 24 years now and we see the fruits coming out of all the seeds God has sown in our lives and the ones we have also sowed in the lives of the people especially the little children. It was always in our hearts to serve the youths and the children of this country. This has been my dream since I was twelve years old, I always saw myself in the midst of African children, helping them, reading and playing with them and that is why it doesn’t surprise me that I’m here today and that I’m now one of you.
“The whole project we have done, we give God all the glory because it’s all to His glory and that makes me happier when people instead of thanking us they thank God for that because everybody contributed. All the prayers that have been said for this country and this Nkpor community and for the children have been answered. We are just the tools and all the helpers we have -the Chukwukelu family has been wonderful too, they always welcome me as one of their own. In Germany, I have only one brother but here I’m surrounded by many people. The first time I came to Nigeria, I think we all slept in one room and I was so impressed that I didn’t feel like returning to Germany again. I thank my mother-in-law for her prayers too because today things have turned out gloriously” she said.
Gabriella also thanked the teachers in the school, the family members and the parents who she said have all contributed in making their vision a success story. She admonished families to pray together and also impact positive images on their children noting that combined with European and African experience, the Ebelechukwu group of schools will be a pace setter in the state.
Showering accolades on her husband, she described Timothy Ebelechukwu as “a man who not only changed her life, her family and the neighborhood but a great adviser and leader”
Former President General of Nkpor community and former Member, House of Representatives Dr. Christian Okeke in a chat lauded Ebelechukwu’s projects describing them as wonderful.
“I think God is using him to bless our people. He loves education and also concerned about the positive growth of our community. This project has taken Nkpor to a higher level because the bulk of schools sited in our community are owned by non-indigenes and settlers and I’m grateful to God for this. We can emulate him on this and I know that my community will benefit immensely from this” he said.
The traditional prime minister of Nkpor community, Chief Chris Udeze also speaking became emotional and said that Ebelechukwu Foundation is the best thing that has happened to the community in recent times.
“We have lots of schools here but the Founder of this school has done a lot for this community. He has sunk many boreholes and his record is yet to be broken by anybody. He is an enigma and a figure that deserve to be honored by the entire Nkpor community. There is no other individual that has done much of what he has done and he responds anytime we call upon him on anything”.
Samuel Chukwukelu, a legal practitioner and brother to Timothy also speaking said that the school was established not for profit making but for the educational development of the masses in the area.
Prince Augustine Udoh, the special Assistant to the Nkpor monarch described Ebelechukwu’s footprints as a rare gesture for the community. He said that it was because of the high regard the community have for Ebelechukwu that made the traditional ruler to be physically present in the ceremony. He lamented that the people of Nkpor has been doing commercial development while people like Ebelechukwu are doing human capital development which to him should be the ideal thing for all.
Mrs Joy Iruogu whose three children are pupils in the school told Oriental News that the children’s performance have improved tremendously since they were enrolled in the school and disclosed that the youngest among them can now operate computer at eight years of age.
The head teacher of the school, Mrs Obiageli Okeke described the school as a unique one because according to her, the Director of the School instituted the Montessori model of teaching where they allow the children to bring out the best in them instead of subjecting them to the use of cane by beating them. She said the establishment of the secondary school arm of the institution will increase the tempo of activities in the center and bring out the full realization of their goals towards imparting knowledge and skills on the young people.
Another legal practitioner, Uche Darlington Okeke also announced the endowment of four trophies for the school during their prize giving days to encourage them in their strides for excellence.
Presentation of debates, calisthenics, fashion parade, award of prizes among other forms of entertainment formed the highlights of the ceremony.
By Emeka Attah, Onitsha