By Joseph Erunke, Abuja
Former Governor of Imo State and senator representing Imo West Senatorial District, Rochas Okorocha,has said over 22,000 Nigerian youths have benefited from the charity work he is undertaking through his foundation, The Rocha’s Foundation in the past 25 years.
Speaking at the weekend, during a ceremony held for graduation of 45 youths who were trained in information and communication technology, tailoring and other vocational skills, the philanthropist explained that the the gestures were aimed at empowering the poor and the needy, mostly in rural areas.
According him,the foundation had empowered the youths not only in skill acquisition and training programmes but also formal education.
At the ceremony held in Karamajiji,a suburb of the FCT located along the Airport Road, beneficiaries who were awarded certificates, also smiled to their homes with empowerment items such as tailoring machines, cash rewards, grinding machines among other items.
The event where aged, physically-challenged, internally displaced persons,IDPs and the vulnerable children,were the beneficiaries, was hosted by Rochas Care Skill Acquisition Centre,a foundation being driven by one of his children, Amen Okorocha.
He said the category of people who benefitted from the event was an indication of passion the foundation has for the less-privileged in society.
Hear him:“This (Rochas Care) is an arm of the Rochas Foundation. It is a reachout and touch programme to rural areas, to uplift the lives of the poor people such as the Karmajiji youths you are seeing here which you see here.
“We are about commissioning the skill acquisition center built in their honour for skills like computer, tailoring etc.
“We have realised that majority of our people live in the rural areas. And somehow we are not (un)aware of the fact that we have lots of people suffering in rural areas. So, Rochas Okorocha foundation is reaching out and touching the lives of poor people.”
He denied report that the gesture had any relationship with the 2023 presidential election,pointing out that it has been in existence for over twenty years.
Okorocha said:“It has nothing to do with politics. Rochas Foundation has been in existence before any presidential aspiration or whatever. We have been here for more than 25 years and we have raised about 22,000 children.”
He spoke further:“So, it has nothing to do with politics. If politics is about helping the poor then let everybody play it: it will help us. It’s nothing about 2023. These people here might likely not vote.”
Speaking earlier, the Director General of the Foundation, Amen Okorocha,charged that,“Whatever we do,we must remember our brothers and sisters beside us.”
According to her:”COVID-19 came as a shock to all of us. It affected the richest person, the poorest person.”
“And most importantly, we must remember the lives of the poor. Today is a special day for us to reconnect with our brothers and sisters. We at the Rochas Foundation are committed to ensuring that every single child has access to education,”she added.
She added:“As we dedicate the building today, I want to say this is a very passionate event, as we dedicate it to a very young man, who was passionate about the things we do at the Rochas Foundation, about touching the lives of the poor and vulnerable youths.”