Welcome Address by Ann Uwakolam for the dedication of RAY OF HOPE FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL (ROHFII)July 16, 2011
Distinguished Guests, special friends and family, ladies and gentlemen
I welcome you all to this memorable event taking place today – the dedication of Ray of Hope Foundation International, Inc. Before I begin, I would like to give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ and to God Almighty with whom all things are possible. I will also, like to extend a heart felt gratitude to all the people who contributed through one way or another to make today a reality. It is no one person’s effort.
About Ray of Hope –
RAY OF HOPE FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL (ROHFII) is a nonprofit corporation incorporated exclusively for educational and charitable purposes. Ray of Hope Foundation will be a comprehensive multi-service agency and its mission is to provide residential, educational and training services for families in hardship. Our programs will promote independence, confidence and renewed hope, while offering participants opportunities for a new beginning and self worth. ROHFII believes very much in higher education and in line with this belief, there will be yearly award of scholarships to High School graduates to instill in them the importance of pursuing their education beyond the corridors of high school. Here at ROHFII, we believe that by educating one person, you can educate a community and an educated community is a better and empowered community, both socially and economically. Also, here at ROHFII, there will be yearly or bi-annual health fare services to create awareness of health issues, job training for displaced workers and help with access to affordable housing. Our goal is to change one person at a time and to reach as many as we can through our many services.
Ladies and Gentlemen, This is a day I never knew will happen. ROHFII was founded in my spirit for quite sometime now due to the needs I see around me, and through the unction of the Holy Spirit. But it was only a couple of years ago that I actually started the officially, the formation of the Foundation. Ever since this was birth in my spirit, the enormity of what I see and envisioned about the Foundation, the sheer size of its services sometimes cripples me with fear. I often find myself in dialog with God. During those quiet moments, I will ask God if He thinks I am capable and how do I begin? After some of these sessions with Him, I will emerge calm and confident but when I think of what is involved, I get cold feet again. One day after one of our sessions, I heard Him telling me that I am not alone. Looking across from this room today, I now understand what He meant. Though He has used me to begin this work, He will use every one of us to fulfill this mission; because it is no longer “I” but “US”, and just by each one of you being here today, it is a testament.
During my days of struggle with the formation, one of the things that I often remember was, as a young woman growing up, I often encounter people who will say to me “your dad helped me with my school fees or your dad put me through school. Your dad helped me gained employment at Opopo or I stayed with your dad when I first arrived at Igwenga etc.” Most of you may not know these cities. These cities had vibrant sea ports in the forties and fifties in Nigeria. Thinking about all those comments people made about my dad now, makes me happy. Though my dad, late Pa George Abazie Iroche, was only able to reach a few, but through this Foundation, and through collaborative efforts, you and I can reach many.
I can also, safely say that today was also birth as a result of burning desire in me to do more. I have only one daughter and in our household we have a tradition. Every year when Christmas approaches (I love Christmas by the way), my daughter and I will hit the stores and by the time we emerge, you will think that we have bought the whole stores. On Christmas eves, we will rush to the Children’s hospital in Washington D.C., to donate all the gifts. When we walk in there, I always felt that our gifts were not enough and most often wished I could do more.
All of us may not be called to start a foundation, however, each one of us can be part of the foundation in one capacity or another – giving financially, volunteering your time during our school materials drives, Christmas toy for tot’s drives, training sessions, hospitality, project management, computer/database, administration, and scholarship committee etc.
As you can see there is so much to be done at this inception stage and we need the help of everyone here to be successful. I will like to close with the following poem written by Charles Osgood.
A Poem About Responsibility
Not My Job
There was a most important job that needed to be done, And no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none. But in vital matters such as this, the thing you have to ask Is who exactly will it be who’ll carry out the task?
Anybody could have told you that everybody knew That this was something somebody would surely have to do. Nobody was unwilling; anybody had the ability. But nobody believed that it was their responsibility.
It seemed to be a job that anybody could have done, If anybody thought he was supposed to be the one. But since everybody recognised that anybody could, Everybody took for granted that somebody would.
But nobody told anybody that we are aware of, That he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of. And nobody took it on himself to follow through, And do what everybody thought that somebody would do.
When what everybody needed so did not get done at all, Everybody was complaining that somebody dropped the ball. Anybody then could see it was an awful crying shame, And everybody looked around for somebody to blame.
Somebody should have done the job And Everybody should have, But in the end Nobody did What Anybody could have.