Spiritan Self-Awareness Initiative

Father Charles Ogada

Finalist 2017

Creating a bright future for the children of Nigeria
In Ebe, a poverty stricken rural county in Nigeria, many struggle to find access to water, shelter, medical care and education. Joy Village, founded by Father Charles Ogada, works every day to eradicate poverty in this area by providing water, education and medical care for free. Joy Village first began as a singular one-storey building. In only five years after its establishment, Father Charles grew the operation to include a project to supply water to 10,000 living in surrounding villages, as well as an academy providing education for 450 children, a home for marginalized youth and a hospital with 24 beds to treat the needy – irrespective of caste, colour or creed. Father Charles created the Village as an ideal community where members can live united and in harmony, without sectarian, religious or tribal divisions. The education is values-based, aiming to provide a holistic learning process to foster universal human values like integrity, empathy, sacrifice and harmony in his students. Like a proud father, he has witnessed them grow into strong, self-aware, self-reliant and happy adults, ready to contribute to their communities. In fact, his students set up the Helping Hands Community Initiative where they helped over 800 disabled and disadvantaged locals improve their quality of life. Believing “in every child there is a diamond of values”, Father Charles works tirelessly to ensure each student flourishes under his care. He often rises hours before dawn to drive a bus to collect children from remote areas and spends time training and monitoring teachers to make sure they infuse human values into their teaching. He also plans and supervises the construction of new facilities, recruits staff and sources medical supplies, and leads the Village in tree planting, landscaping and growing vegetables.
Everyday we wake up to horrific news of violence, pain and suffering. What about the goodness in the world? THE ONE draws attention to the good that exists within humanity, the people that maybe unknown to us, but who are making a difference to hundreds and thousands of those that need help. THE ONE, a project by Rotary International District 3450, looks to find such a hero. A true angel, a healer – a person who wakes up every single morning, puts others before himself and dedicates his or her life to helping others in need. THE ONE is a unsung hero that truly embodies the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self”. THE ONE was conceptualised and founded by Past District Governor David Harilela, and is the first International Humanitarian Award launched by Rotary International District 3450 (Hong Kong, Macao, Mongolia & PRC – Guangdong). This annual award aims to find THE ONE by accessing the powerful Rotary network of over 1.2 million people.

For more information about this prestigious award