Vera Okorochukwu: I Set Up Marvin To Cater For Children With Special Needs

Vera Okorochukwu: I Set Up Marvin To Cater For Children With Special Needs
Vera Okorochukwu

Last year (2019), Marvin Okorochukwu Foundation, a non-profit organisation that caters for people with basic needs, particularly children, earmarked its activities. The organisation led by prominent philanthropist, Vera Okorochukwu, was responsible for the smiles some people had across the country.

In this interview, Okorochukwu discussed her passion to address the basic needs of an average man on the street, and what motivates her every day on making the NGO a functional organisation.

Kindly tell us the primary focus of Marvin…

Our thinking and focus as an NGO is to touch and impact positively on the lives of the less privileged in our society in any facet and by extension, the handicapped or the physically challenged and above all, children living with various health issues.

How did you conceive the Marvin idea in the first place?

Well, it all started back in May 2019; when I toyed and came up with the idea. Marvin to be precise is the name of my third child and a second son who happens to be anaemic. Knowing fully well the challenges that come with it and which I have been through myself as a mother, I decided to reach out to children of similar or related issues with the intent to spread love and offer hope and succour for the future. Okorochukwu is the family name, thus came: The Marvin Okorochukwu Foundation – – – The MOF.

What inspires you to give more for the sake of humanity? 

The burden to spread the love even when I am affected and involved; the preoccupation to brighten up faces hitherto downcast; the obsession to offer hope for the present and the future and the addiction to tell everyone so affected in whatever area – – – that we are in this together and I am offering my little and humble bit. This summarily inspires me, the organization, and her entire membership.

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Who are the core beneficiaries of the programmes your NGO run?

Our core beneficiaries are encapsulated in all the less privileged, the handicapped/ physically challenged and those living with various health issues. Our scope of beneficiaries are embodied in the various classes I have mentioned earlier.

How have you been securing funds to run your programmes?

By the virtue of being an NGO, we have relied heavily on “self sponsorship”. Yes, donations have come from one or two quarters by those I will fondly call friends, supporters, sympathizers and ambassadors of the organization. But largely and largely I must say, the bulk and bunch of our funding have come from our members who have seen no reason to restrain but to generously and lavishly donate to this course and project. Their support have remained a backbone.

Why did you venture into running this NGO?

Late Chief Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, did write a book titled : ” BECAUSE I AM INVOLVED”. Without mincing words, I ventured into an NGO as this, “because, I am involved”; because I am affected and because I am a victim by virtue of my son: Marvin Okorochukwu. The need to provide a shoulder to anyone presently passing through this challenge ( sickle cell anaemia) and to recall to them that they are not fighting this battle alone and that together we will win.

What are the things you seek to achieve with the organisation?

Our goals and objectives are legion and keep unfolding by the day and I must add that, we are not deterred or scared by this. First and foremost, is sensitization. We need to let the society know that people who live with one health challenge or the other, have not asked for it or brought it upon themselves and against this backdrop, we must show them love, empathy and inclusion as against segregation and exclusion.

Two, to fight and win the battle of “destigmatization of the stigmatized”. Be it sickle cell anaemia, or the down syndrome or autism, whatever, they deserve our open arms and unrivalled understanding of their plight and acceptance.

Three, to provide help to the level and extent our finances can carry us, in ameliorating the pains people pass through as the less privileged in our society. Four, to provide a platform and create as well as sustain an enabling environment where people must and should not be judged by the content of their health challenge but by the content of their being.

Finally, to appeal to the large and good-hearted individuals out there, that where their legs cannot carry them to, that their finances will go way beyond their imagination.

What are the challenges you have so far encountered in the course of exploits?

Sincerely speaking, challenges as per access to our various target groups have been nonexistent. The only challenge as we seek to break more grounds is only that of adequate funds or finances to push farther our borders and boundaries. We want to do more exploits and take on more.

Where do you see Marvin in five years?

I see Marvin drawing representations from other parts of this country. I see a Marvin that will enlarge the scope of her coverage in terms of putting smiles on people’s faces. I see a Marvin that will attract local and international attention via-a-vis sponsorship.

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