- Charles Ogbu is a Nigerian journalist and a social activist who dedicates his time to the upliftment of the downtrodden.
- He uses his social media platforms to mobilise funds to carry out numerous humanitarian projects that has put smiles on the lips of many
- He runs an NGO called Leave No One Behind Rural Initiative with which he carries out his heartwarming humanitarian works
Legit.ng recently sat down with Charles for a brief chat and the result was quite interesting. Read and enjoy.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Charles Ogbu, a journalist and social justice activist from Enugu state, Southeast Nigeria. I clocked 36 on the 23rd of this month (March). Although I am a journalist by training, I am more interested in social justice activism and community service using social media as a powerful tool. In the course of my works on social media, I have come face to face with a lot of danger from politicians who have zero tolerance for criticism.
3 persons who were timely rescued by their old schoolmates years later, one had run mad on the street
When did you decide to register an NGO?
PAY ATTENTION: Subscribe to Digital Talk newsletter to receive must-know business stories and succeed BIG!
I registered the NGO in August, 2020 with 6 board of trustee members with the sole aim of giving a bigger platform and legal backing and structure to what I was already doing on Facebook.
What inspired you to start an NGO?
I was inspired to start a humanitarian NGO by my desire to see people happy, to be the conduit through which people's lives get changed for the better. Long before I registered an NGO, I was doing exactly the work of an NGO using my Facebook account but without the structure.
For example, I've used my Facebook account to pay school fees for indigent students, provide food for poor families living in the rural areas, get medical treatment for those who need it and even build houses (a three bedroom for a young mother of 5 named Esther Nnaji and a bungalow for an old widow named Mgbankwo) for people.
Nigerian family living in flooded apartment for 5 years go viral, video of their home interior breaks hearts
I did all these through crowdfunding using my personal account after which I made sure to deliver proper account to the public complete with my full statement of account in keeping with my policy on transparency.
What are the challenges so far?
Before I answer this question, permit me to say a very big thank you for my Facebook family. They've been wonderfully supportive. Seeing people you don't know trust you enough with millions is not something I will ever take for granted.
There was one instance where upon reading me plead for an indigent young mother to be gifted with a house, a few friends of mine came together and donated money for a three bedroom for the woman.
I have never called for any humanitarian project without my Facebook family rallying round to get it done.
Now to your question, the major challenge is funding. We have never received any grant from any group or organisation.
Man who worked as a taxi driver becomes American citizen, shares story of how he travelled with little money
All our funds are sourced either through crowdfunding on Facebook or donation from friends. In some cases especially of late, funding our projects has fallen on my secretary and me especially in cases where for some reasons, we feel it's not right to share pictures and other personal details of the subject of our humanitarian intervention in order to protect their dignity.
Are you fulfilled?
Quite frankly, nothing is more fulfilling than seeing indigent kids from rural areas with zero or no hope of going to school being given the opportunity of going to school, the poorest of the poor who hitherto lived in mud-houses being gifted with brand new houses, the sick having their medical bill paid amongst others.
So yes, I am fulfilled, all thanks to our donors, our wonderful team, our ever dependable secretary, Nneka Okala who is doing far more than her job in seeing our NGO meet her mandate in the midst of financial constraints as well as the general public from whom I have continued to enjoy immense support and goodwill.
Can you share stories of those your NGO has have helped?
There are so many of them but for want of time, let's stay with just two: One was a young orphaned girl of 19 from a place called Amankala Alaye in Abia state whose name I won't mention for obvious reason. She was violently r@ped by 8 men three years ago. With no parents and no money and with some of the alleged rapists having connections in high places, the girl felt there was no hope of justice for her.
The case was brought to my notice by a kind-hearted philanthropist, Chief Eugene Orji Ikoro and with the help of a Facebook friend by name honorable Erondu Joseph, we were able to get 6 of the boys arrested and charged to court. And the victim rehabilitated after receiving medical attention. The joy on the face of the victim and her very aged grandmother makes me smile each time I remember it.
I really need a wife: Nigerian man laments, shares video of his scattered apartment, social media reacts
So far, we have built houses for two widows (a three bedroom and a bungalow). We have over 40 students in primary and secondary schools as well as the university under our scholarship program. This February and March alone, we paid WAEC fees for over 20 indigent students, we have over a dozen people we are helping with medicare, not less than 18 widows and single mothers have benefited from our business grant and so many other accomplishments all thanks to our donors who are mostly on Facebook.
How do you source funds for your humanitarian projects?
Our major source of funding is social media. We choose a humanitarian project and we bring it to social media to solicit for financial support. Once our team decides on a course of humanitarian action, we start soliciting for fund. Most times, we use our own personal fund to start the project before coming to ask for support to finish same. Other times, we simply choose a project and we fund it ourselves. In this regard, our secretary, Nneka Okala has been exceptionally helpful.
Joyful moment social media users contributed N20.7m for family, rebuilt their house, set up business for them
In another story, Legit.ng reported that Charles Ogbu renovated a house for an aged couple in Enugu state.
The elderly couple, Mr and Mrs James Elizabeth Anichioke Ogbodo live in a house that had no doors and windows.
His kind act attracted huge appreciations from Social media users who called him an angel in human form.