KECHIE'S PROJECT

KECHIE'S NOTES


#ThisGivingTuesday, Donate to Educate and Mentor More!


At Kechie’s Project Inc., we believe that all girls should have access to education. With an estimated 10.6 million girls without access to education in Nigeria, we need your help to educate, mentor and empower more.

For every dollar you donate to Kechie’s Project, Inc., 100% of the proceeds go directly towards paying school tuition, providing supplies and scholarships for our girls. Funds are also used to provide other social services, such as panel discussion, forums, mentoring and the recently added Men-Talk Conversation Series, which will help empower young men in our local communities.

All of these initiatives are possible through the generosity of donors and supporters like you who believe in our cause. Our services are possible because of the work of our volunteers, and our own personal financial sacrifices.

To date, Kechie’s Project, Inc. has helped many girls in Nigeria and in local communities through mentoring, paying school tuition, and providing supplies. In Nigeria, 95% of girls in our program are from under-served communities. Many are orphans and some are being raised by single parents. Many have graduated from high school because of your support to our organization.

This Giving Tuesday, we hope that you can continue to help us do this work. We hope we can continue to count on you. Please make a donation today. No amount is too small. $5, $10, $15, $20 or more will go a long way for our girls, especially those in Nigeria. Your small token would also make it possible for us to continue our mentoring services, our Men-talk Conversation Series and be able to fulfill our goal of an after school program in Nigeria.

This work is never about us. We do it because we know that sacrifices must start with us before we ask others. We thank you in advance!

DONATE          #GIVINGTUESDAY

Sincerely,

Nkechi Ogbodo

President/Founder

Kechie’s Project, Inc.





Give And Help Us To Educate, Empower And Mentor More Girls In 2016!




Dear Friends and Supporters,

 I am writing you today to ask that you consider making your year - end gift to KECHIES PROJECT, INC.

 We need your help!

 . . . and, if you are wondering why?

Here’s my answer . . . .

 Your gift has the power to educate more girls in Nigeria, and mentor girls in two schools we work with in our local community of Harlem, NY.

Your gift means YES, to educating and empowering girls; especially in Nigeria, where some would say NO, it’s not feasible to educate girls.

 I am a living proof of the notion that “Education Equals Empowerment”. I am giving back because I grew up in Nigeria, and it is the power of education that brought me this far. I am also a good example of the fact that when a girl is educated and empowered, she would support her family and community. Educated girls in Nigeria, Africa, and all over the world, become Scientists, Educators, CEOs, Doctors, Lawyers, Entrepreneurs, Teachers, Politicians and Phenomenal Mothers that raise standards for the next generation of girls in Nigeria, and all over the world.

 The above mentioned points are reasons why we are addressing the importance of education; engaging government, women, girls, community, and private sector in this process, as well as introducing stakeholders to challenges facing all girls; especially the Nigerian Girl Child.

 
The above mentioned points are the reasons why we do what we do at KECHIES PROJECT, INC. The reasons we continue to create awareness both in Nigeria and in our local community of Harlem, NY. We do this by organizing forums, paying school tuition, donating school supplies, adding more participants in our programs, and by educating more girls in Nigeria. The reasons why we invite accomplished professionals as guest speakers to the two schools we work with in Harlem; to share their personal struggles, challenges they faced before they got to where there are ….all in efforts to help inspire and empower our girls.

 Our plan for 2016 is to provide an after school program with modern technology for our girls in Nigeria. Your tax deductible gift of $75 dollars or more would help us to achieve this goal. Any gift you give would help us to continue to give our girls the gift of education. No amount is too small.

 We invite you to connect with us, Log-on to  www.kechiesproject.org and make a difference today.

 Happy, healthy and prosperous 2016!

 
Sincerely,

Nkechi Ogbodo,
On behalf of our Team @
KECHIES PROJECT, INC.


 

​​​​​Happy Thanksgiving and Best Wishes to You All!


At Kechie's Project, we have so much we   are thankful for! Today, we celebrated Thanksgiving at Mott Hall High School with Jeanine Launay, Deputy Chief of the Domestic Violence Unit, Special Victims Bureau, and Tricia Phillips from New York County District Attorney's Office.

We are grateful for the support of Accra African Restaurant Harlem, Cherie French Restaurant Harlem, Lido Italian Restaurant Harlem and Harlem Shake for all the food donations. To you our dear friends and supporters, we are filled with gratitude for all you have done and continue to do to support our girls in Nigeria and those in our local community of Harlem, NYC. At Kechie's Project, our vision is simple....A world where all girls will have access to education and security! We are counting on your continuous support. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


Sincerely,​
Kechie's Project Team


Nkechi Ogbodo
President/Founder
Kechie's Project, Inc.



​​​Thank you all!

Kechie’s Project was in Nigeria recently to pay for school tuition, donate school supplies and also to celebrate International Month of the Girl/Child with some of our girls in Lagos, Nigeria.


At Kechie’s Project we believe in our mission to empower girls through education. For us and our supporters, we are committed and we know it takes a lot of moral and financial support in order to elevate and empower, especially when it concerns these young women. We believe in the future of our girls. With your support their future is unlimited and with continued fundraising and donations, their futures will be even brighter. We are counting on you to continue this work and yes, every little bit helps. We appreciate the support of those who have given and we thank in advance our future donors.

Your support made it possible for us to visit and pay Charity Anih’s School tuition at Enugu Sate College of Education, pay yearly school tuition into our girls (Technical Secondary/ College) school bank account at Agbani, Enugu State, donate school supplies and open bank accounts for additional girls in our program in Makoko, Lagos.


Many thanks to: Mrs. Queenette Nwobodo and Family, Afo Ogbeyalu Kalu and The Kalu Humanitarian Initiative, Joan Monk and Maria Ellis of AAUW, Joyce Adewumi of the New York Cultural Festival, New York Coalition of 100 Black Women, Beatrice Philantrope, Virgin Atlantic Airline for making it possible for all donated school supplies to get to Nigeria, Nana Brew-Hammond and many others numerous to mention. Your donation of school supplies and monetary donations make it possible for our girls to stay in school.

Ogo Maduewisi of the Vitiligo Foundation Nigeria, thank you! Anphi Cleaning Services Nigeria, Moriam Musa of Tribe and Elan Publishing, Msgrs Uka and Bon Voyage Hotel Victoria Island Lagos, thank you all for sponsoring and believing in KP Programs for Girls in Nigeria. Your generosity is a great way to support and promote our efforts to educate girls. Please keep supporting our girls as they continue to work hard with great drive and commitment to their studies.

Travelling to Nigeria twice a year for the sake of our girls and celebrating International Day of the Girl/Child was a choice we made from day one because we wanted to make the celebration more meaningful and heartwarming experience for our girls. We thank our awesome guest speakers: Arch Bishop Oni, Elder Soyede (Father of the Vice President’s Wife) Aisha Oyebode (nee Murtala Muhammed) Aisha Ibrahim (WILAT Nigeria) Mrs. H.M. Mohammed (NPA Nigeria) and many others. Having the event at the beautiful Hotel Bon Voyage, overlooking the ocean in Victoria Island for such deserving girls from very poor background, made people more interested in supporting and donating their time. Exposing our girls to such powerful speakers in a beautiful environment while giving them the opportunity to tell their own personal stories made them all walk away, with the belief that they are somebody and they can equally achieve higher goals and a brighter future.


Click here to view  images from this trip


Nkechi Ogbodo
President/Founder,
Kechie’s Project, Inc.
www.kechiesproject.org




Sambisa Forest; a Forest of Shame!


The Nigerian elections have come and gone, and everything old is new again. Some of the new from the old is even more confusing and traumatic as time goes by. Some days ago, Nigeria's military rescued a combined total of more than 500 women and girls. Of those rescued, about 214 girls are pregnant. I am confused; how could this happen? The trauma relates to a number of concerns: how did the girls arrive in the Sambisa Forest, how did they live while captured, and how were they treated by those who captured them? Why Sambisa Forest and how did these women and girls survive? My heart bleeds for them all.

The past year proved to be a terrible time for Nigerian women and girls because of the evil acts of Boko Haram. Not only were women, girls, and children taken against their will but many were then raped and killed. Now I am faced with the news that a year after the kidnapping of the Chibok Girls, there are more than 200 additional recently liberated girls that are pregnant. This is a complete nightmare. I am certain that if the Chibok Girls are found many will already have their own children as well.

Winning an election is great, but a positive election result alone is not sufficient for progress and advancing a nation. It is not sufficient, unless the winning candidate delivers on the promises made during the campaign. One of the promises made by our President - Elect was that he would make an effort to locate and free the Chibok Girls. I hope he delivers on that promise. The election does not end our quest to locate the Chibok Girls. We must recognize that our collective struggle must continue as one people and one nation.

It is true that change takes time, but we must also be willing to ask our leaders hard questions while we stand up for our brothers and sisters whose rights have been violated. Change also means recognizing the sacrifices made by those who came before us (our founding fathers), and making sure that as a people, we continue to build on the legacy that they left behind. We do this through our willingness to always call the truth as we see it. What we owe Chibok Girls is to liberate them, and demand that justice be served. We must disengage from glorification of our elected officials, and demand that they do the work they are elected to do. The election is over, yet on social media, some Nigerians are more concerned about tribal and religious divisions than asking hard questions on what can be done collectively to rescue the girls.

Today, I reflect on the efforts of the founding fathers of The Federal Republic of Nigeria. I ponder on their efforts; how they worked together, and the strategies they used in securing Nigeria’ s independence.   Fellow Nigerians, they worked together as brothers and sisters. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we must not see each other as enemies because of our different viewpoints, or ethnic origins.

The world must demand justice for all women and girls held captive against their will. We must stand with them by continuing to speak up on their behalf; to let them know that what happened to them is not normal, and that atrocities were committed against them, and that they deserve justice. The Sambisa Forest is a forest of shame. Moving fully forward means finding answers to the Chibok situation. Moving fully forward means provision of adequate security to protect all women and girls in Nigeria. Until then, Chibok is our national shame.  

Nkechi Ogbodo
President/Founder,
Kechie’s Project, Inc.
www.kechiesproject.org



​Nigerians are not sleeping: We are awake!

Our history as Nigerians is so important. I believe that in order to put some of our shameful past dealings behind us, and begin to move forward as one nation, we must be our own “talking drums”; sharing our good, and not so good stories with the rest of the world. Since we survived the Nigeria/Biafra civil war, we must now move forward, and remove any apathy that is setting us back as one people. I am not a politician, and while we may never know the full story behind the Chibok situation, it was important to me personally. As the founder of an organization that prides itself on the empowerment of girls through education, I stood up along with other concerned citizen, to denounce Boko Haram’s aggression against Chibok girls.

For me, Chibok represents several things. First, that I am a progressive Nigerian; courageous enough to stand up with others to ask questions, and demanded answers from our leaders. Kechie’s Project, Inc.’s slogan is “Educate Our Girls, Empower the Future” (www.kechiesproject.org). The Chibok situation is in line with the mission of our organization. True or false, we did what we were supposed to do as an organization. We demanded that our leaders take urgent action in finding the girls.

Secondly, Chibok is also a horrible reminder of my Mom’s experience in the hands of kidnappers (not Boko Haram). A group of young men violated my own mother’s right to speak, and move freely for 8 weeks. She was forcibly taken from my family home, on June 14th, 2011 while attending to my Dad who was ill. They took my Mom and left my father, a man dealing with a diabetic stroke; unable to walk, talk, or cater for himself. They left my father to die while demanding millions of naira from my family; which we did not have. Though my mother returned after 8 weeks, she returned with huge scars; both emotional and physical. My Dad passed exactly one month after my mom’s return. Those that kidnapped my Mom were never found, and I am sure that they are still walking freely, while my Mom suffers from emotional and psychological pain. So when I stand up for Chibok, it is personal. I stand up not to gain sympathy, but as my way of giving a voice to my mother, and to many others whose rights are violated. I stand up for Chibok not as a victim, but as a courageous woman using her adversity to speak up for the voiceless.

Chibok also creates a platform for discussion on other challenges facing women and girls in Nigeria. All children must be empowered, but because cultural impediments continue to overshadow women’s progress in Africa, I believe more support should be given to women and girls. Chibok intensifies my thinking. What if I could do more than I was already doing by helping more women and girls in Nigeria; guide and support them on discovering themselves, and finding out what they can live for.
I see myself as a Nigerian-American. I was born in Jos, and as far as I can remember, I recall that living in Jos made me feel powerful, and not powerless. Plateau people did not fight others that did not look, or speak the Birom language. We all lived together in cohesive communities. In addition to being an Igbo girl, I see myself as a “Birom” girl.

On the 1 year anniversary since the kidnapping of the Chibok girls, I reflected on the actions Kechie’s Project, Inc. took as an organization in addressing the issue of the Girl Child in Nigeria. I am proud to say that we made progress in using our voices, and resources in addressing not only the Chibok situation, but also the many challenges still facing women and girls in Nigeria. I am proud of myself for standing up for those girls. I still believe that those girls were taken, and if turns out not to be true, history will harshly judge those who lied; deceiving global citizens and orchestrating that situation. On my part, I will sleep well at night knowing that Kechie’s Project, Inc. is fulfilling the mission of our organization. We stood up for all Nigerian girls, not because they are from the North or South of Nigeria, but because they are girls; girls in crisis.

I believe that the truth about the Chibok girls will eventually come to light. Until then, I know that Nigeria will never be the same again. As Nigerians, we are stepping up, and finding our collective voices; as one people. We are looking to the future and demanding accountability from our leaders. Yes, we must not sleep, we must ask questions, and exercise our freedom to express our differing opinions. Let’s not dwell on the unknown until the truth unveils itself. Let it be known also, that if we find the incoming president wanting, that we would stand up and demand answers from him as well. The fact that we are all stepping up in calling out our leaders is a big deal, so let’s not discount progress. This is the new Nigeria I hoped and prayed for!



Congratulations to President-elect; General Buhari     


Muhammadu Buhari, a former head of state who derived his power from his position as general in the armed forces of Nigeria, was never my choice for president because I did not believe he would be the leader that would begin the process of true change that Nigeria needs. I advocated and hoped for a new face, a young visionary. This young and strong candidate would be blessed with the ability and charisma to carry the whole country in a new direction. Having said this, the fact remains that Nigerians decided Mr. Buhari should be the president and he represents the change and new direction for Nigeria. The voters clearly stated that they were exhausted after the years of insecurity and miscalculation during the term of his opponent --Goodluck Jonathan.

At this very moment, our collective future is uncertain. However, if there’s one thing I am certain of, it is that all Nigerians will not stand for the status quo and old systems from our politicians any longer. We will continue to be a voice to the voiceless, and demand accountability from our newly elected officials.

We are going to continue to demand equal representation and a fair share of our national resources from our new President. We will continue to stand up for our women and girls, and demand full empowerment, education, and equal participation of our women at the local, state and country decision tables; where all issues concerning Nigerians are made.

Imagine a Nigeria where women and girls would have the choice to decide when they want to get married, who they want to marry, and what choices they want in their lives. I also want to see a Nigeria where jobs are created for our youth and where every Nigerian has a fair shot at making it in life.  We will continue to demand changing of outdated cultural mindsets that deem and treat women as objects and continue to denounce forcing of underage girls into early marriage by their parents. I want to believe that there must be an unseen reason why destiny gave you a second chance Mr. President-elect. I hope and pray that you are truly the leader our fragile nation deserves.

This is your opportunity to bring unity to all of Nigeria! The election is now behind us and we are looking towards the future.  I want to see a Nigeria that is truly united with one voice, one people, and as one nation. This past election is not about who won; APC or PDP, but an opportunity for you to bring all Nigerians together, to help us change our divisive ethnic and religious mentality that has been delaying the progress of Nigeria. Mr. President-elect, this victory is not about Hausa, Yoruba, nor Igbo; but a victory for all that voted for you, and those that did not. I hope that we can begin to move forward as one nation with one common destiny.

I want to see a Nigeria where freedom and democracy reign, and where people are able to express their views without fear. I want to see a Nigeria that respects human rights, and a President who welcomes, and allows all Nigerians the freedom to practice whatever faith they believe in.

Mr. President-elect, as the change Nigeria deserves, I encourage you to lead by example; so we can all intensify our pride in being Nigerians, and do more on our part to serve Nigeria better. We welcome you back with open minds hoping that you will work for the interest of Nigeria and all Nigerians.

Mr. President, the Nigerian people have spoken. Let the long journey toward healing begin; but know that the journey will not be complete without our Chibok Girls. I hope our girls can now come home to their families.They; along with other innocent Nigerians that were killed in the past five years, have paid dearly, and sacrificed everything for Nigeria. They are the REAL heroes; and perhaps owners of this victory. Make it Happen Mr. President-elect.
 

Nkechi Ogbodo
President/Founder
Kechie's Project, Inc.
www.kechiesproject.org



Black History Month 2015


Last Wednesday, February 25th, Kechie's Project celebrated Black History Month  at the Bread and Roses Integrated high school with our Community Service/Multicultural Group. Lee A. Daniels, was our Guest Speaker. His topic on the Civil Rights Movement was timely and thoroughly engaging. I have no doubt that the knowledge he shared with the students especially on control and choices, will positively affect their determination to finish high school and go to college






Chibok Girls of Nigeria, Who’s Girls Are They?


“There is no national consensus in Nigeria on how to deal with the Boko Haram insurgency.“What outsiders often fail to grasp is that this grim situation is merely the symptom of a deeper malaise: a breakdown of the informal consensus on power sharing between the Muslim north and the Christian south that had guided Nigerian politics for decades”.~ Princeton Lyman, former US Ambassador to Nigeria.” I agree with the Ambassador’s assessment.

Friends, it seems like only yesterday that Kechie’s Project, Inc., organized a rally, forum, vigil, concert and media reception in solidarity with our Chibok Girls. We stood in solidarity in front of the Nigerian Consulate on May 10th, 2014 with the support of Harlem4 Center for Change and Street Corner Resources and demanded the return of the Chibok Girls. We stood in solidarity with the Chibok Girls, along with progressive Nigerians, Friends of Nigeria, Christians, Jews, Catholics, secularists, and Muslims and demanded the return of the Chibok Girls by Boko Haram, at a time when demanding action in front of our consulate was still not politically correct. We called on President Jonathan to do all within his power to secure the release of the girls. We did that as Nigerians and friends of Nigeria looking for the new Nigerian Renaissance, as Nigerians who want a better Nigeria.

 On a personal note, I was doing it because I know what it means to have a loved one kidnapped. I was doing it because standing up for Chibok was a way to give a voice to my mother who was a victim of ransom kidnapping in Nigeria, enduring 8 weeks in captivity. I was standing and raising my voice because each time I see my mother, I see an old woman, who was violated and who is still in pain both emotionally and physically. So when I stood up for Chibok, I was standing up for the parents and families of all that were kidnapped. We were standing up for all Nigerian girls regardless of what part of Nigeria they are from. We were doing it for all Nigerian girls. We stood up for Chibok, spent resources because since 2010, Kechie’s Project, Inc. has been about empowerment of girls through education.

 What I thought to be the New Nigerian Renaissance, unfortunately, was hijacked by a select few that continue to dwarf the progress of Nigeria. All of a sudden, the #BringBackOurGirls campaign became a movement that was commandeered and used by the opposition as a tool for political gains. The world watched as the momentum we all built to state the case for our girls got replaced by ethnic and religious rancor. Elections and real issues facing Nigerians became filtered with hatred even among the so called educated elites. Our "girls," got pushed to the sidelines and demonization of political opponents became the other of the day. The world turned away because Nigerians are their own worst enemies.

My trip to Nigeria last December was not only to visit our girls and spend time with my family, but also to assess things on the ground to better understand the Chibok situation. While in Nigeria, I wanted to visit Jos, one of the epicenters of conflicts in Nigeria and the City I was born in. I was advised against traveling by road from Enugu to Jos due to security reasons. What one sees on the ground depends on whose side one is on. If you are supporting Buhari’s opposition, Goodluck Jonathan is the worst thing that ever happened to Nigeria but if you are for Jonathan, the Chibok situation is a conspiracy against his government. What one sees on the ground also depends on what part of the country and if you are Muslim or Christian.

Nigeria is a nation that remains deeply divided on every issue. We lack maturity and civility for standing up with one voice to demand what we want from our leaders. Every Nigerian is clamoring for change, but change does not constitute recycling of old ideas. We want the world to stand with us, fight our battles for us while we blame everything on President Jonathan. We want the world to help when we have not shown the world that we are a united voice. 

 Yes, Chibok happened on President Jonathan’s watch but the truth is, we must rally around our president while he is president, regardless of our differences to help him defeat Boko Haram and bring our girls home. The Chibok Girls are still in captivity because we refuse to rise above our ethnic and religious differences for a common cause that is Nigeria. We have betrayed our girls by allowing our personal and sectional interests to come before our collective strength as one nation.

 For me, as a Nigerian from the Southern Eastern part of Nigeria, whose ethnic group of 2 million people, half of them being children were mascaraed and starved to death during the Nigerian Civil War; Nigeria can no longer afford to have a leader who will not carry the rest of the country along. Buhari is not the change we need. He has not demonstrated that he is that change we need. Nigerians need a progressive and unbiased visionary that will instill trust so that all Nigerians will see themselves as Nigerians with one common voice. 

Yes, there are many reasons not to vote for President Jonathan, but Buhari is not the answer for my freedom of speech and for my respect as a woman. Buhari is not the answer for the empowerment of women, both politically and socially. He is definitely not the answer for all our girls and our daughters, including those in the northern part of Nigeria that are being married off as children - or for all my fellow Nigerians.

PDP and APC are both the same. APC is an old wine in a new bottle. Both parties have offered ordinary Nigerians nothing but misery. Our focus should be on how to work together as one nation, with one voice towards finding a visionary leader that will embrace our rich diversity and enhance the quality of life for all Nigerians.

Sincerely,

Nkechi Ogbodo
President/Founder
Kechie’s Project, Inc.
info@kechiesproject.orgwww.kechiesproject.org


McGill University's First African Conference, Montreal, Canada

Last week, January 24th,  I participated in a very candid, passionate and thought provoking panel discussion on "Empowering Tomorrow's Leaders" at the McGill University, Montreal, Canada. It was McGill's first African Business Conference hosted by Desautels African Business Initiative. A 2-day event, with four different panels and powerful speakers. Topics discussed include mining, energy, telecommunications, banking, entrepreneurship and women empowerment. I'm truly honored to have been invited.


Click here to view Pictures

Sincerely,

Nkechi Ogbodo
President/Founder
Kechie’s Project, Inc.
info@kechiesproject.orgwww.kechiesproject.org

​​


Visit to Nigeria Dec 2014/Jan 2015

Last month, I travelled to Nigeria to spread a little holiday cheer to our girls over there. Despite the ongoing situation in Nigeria, we concluded that the holiday season will be the perfect time to visit and spend time with the girls we are committed to, as well as less fortunate ones in communities that are not in our program.

With the help and support of New York Coalition of 100 Black Women, we were able to provide our girls in Nigeria with basic and essential products that will make life a little easier for them. They received school supplies, backpacks, sanitary pads and other personal care products.  New York Coalition of 100 Black women were incredibly generous and without their support and that of our other supporters, we would not have been able to accomplish these goals.

While in Nigeria, I visited the three schools we are working with, gave out supplies to our girls, and also visited and donated to Lots Foundation in Ajegunle Area of Lagos State, known as Dustbin Estate.  Dustbin Estate is an area filled with garbage and human feces, yet it is home to a lot of people. By far, Dustbin estate is the most underserved community I have ever been to in Nigeria. The people in this community need clean water, bathrooms, toilets and better living conditions.

Folks, we have a lot of work to do in impoverished communities in Nigeria. We encourage you to do your research, find a cause or organization to support in Nigeria or any other African countries to make a difference.  It is important to visit, witness the destitute conditions in which many people live, and then decide where you can make the most impact. It is simply not enough to complain on social media. Yes, social media helps to create awareness, but it does not solve the many problems facing our youth, women, and girls in Africa. Direct action must be taken by demanding accountability and transparency from our leaders.

Kechie’s Project, Inc. will continue to empower girls through education and mentorship as well as create awareness of the disadvantaged communities throughout Nigeria. We will support local organizations like Lots Foundation, which is doing great work for the boys and girls of Dustbin Estate, Ajegunle, Lagos. Our donation to Lots Foundation will help them do more for the almost 200 children they support and sponsor.

Kechie’s Project, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization that empowers girls through education and mentorship. Help us to do more by visiting and making a donation on website. No donation is too small. Visit us @ www.kechiesproject.org.  Thank you!


Click here to view Pictures

Sincerely,

Nkechi Ogbodo
President/Founder
Kechie’s Project, Inc.
info@kechiesproject.orgwww.kechiesproject.org



Day #250...Chiboks girls, where are they?

While I blame President Jonathan for missing the opportunity to rescuing our girls within the first few days of their kidnapping, it is also fair to say that finding them is not only the responsibility of President Goodluck Jonathan, but that of all Nigerians. It is unfortunate that some are sabotaging every effort being made towards finding our Chibok girls for cheap political gains.

We should be able to rely on our government to p...rotect our children, women, men and elders from being terrorized, kidnapped, rapped, maimed and murdered because of ethnic and religious strife. Kechie's Project will continue to bring awareness and pray for the still missing Chibok girls and their families.

"Rather than face the issue on ground, we hastily point sentimental accusing finger to religion and ethnicity. Let us address this issue or else we all will be used directly or indirectly mostly unknowingly to destroy our nation"~ Olugbenla Adedeji Samuel.



​Giving Tuesday 2014


Dear Friends/Supporters,

​​On this Giving Tuesday, we want to say thank you for supporting our organization, Kechie’s Project. Your continued support means so much to us but even more, for our girls and our organization. You clearly have demonstrated that you have the power to educate and empower lives of girls in our local community of Harlem as well as those of our girls in Nigeria. Through your actions, you stepped up, stood with us in solidarity when over 219 Nigerian School girls were kidnapped. While we helped create an International awareness for the plight of the missing girls, we also stayed the cause for the girls we are already committed to in Harlem and in Nigeria, our KP girls.

We made huge progress this year and are very proud of the success we achieved through your support.

-- At Bread and Roses high school Harlem, we awarded a $500 grant to Ms. Hawa Sanogo, the winner of our essay contest and $100 grant for school supplies to the 2nd winner, Crystal Morales.

-- ​Our monthly cultural luncheon continues to be a success as we continue to invite accomplished women to the school as guest speakers.

​ -- With the support of Pope Plummer, Social Work Coordinator at Mott Hall High School, we added selected girls from Mott Hall High Harlem to our program. With your support, we will add more girls and schools to our program in 2015.

-- ​In Nigeria, our commitment to our girls as it pertains to school fees and providing educational supplies has been met.

​Our Forum at the UN Plaza, on the State of the Girl Child in Nigeria, showed how much further we must go. We must continue the dialogue on the state of girls globally.

​Today is #GivingTuesday. We appreciate all you have done to support our organization. Together, our girls will achieve more; help their families and their communities. Supporting Kechie’s Project will truly help us to educate, empower more and all girls. We can only do more with your assistance. Thank you for all you have done and for all you will do in future.

Kindly make a donation today to support Kechie’s Project to educate and empower our girls. Visit us @ www.kechiesproject.org  Also, like our facebook Page: Kechie’s Project Page or follow us on twitter:@ KechiesProjectSincerely,Kechie’s Project Inc.www.kechiesproject.org



Free Chibok Girls: They Belong To Their Own Destinies!

​A few weeks ago, all of us at  Kechie's Project were excited and extremely hopeful after hearing the news that the Nigerian military, had agreed to a truce with Boko Haram that would lead to the release of the over 200 Nigerian girls abducted from the Chibok School. 


​Our organizations, along with others, have labored greatly to stay on the issue to ensure that our girls are not forgotten. However, today, we are heartbroken upon hearing the news that our girls have been married off, yet again, dashing our hopes, that we may “ever see our girls.” 

​We will continue to remain optimistic and hopeful that our girls will eventually be released and be returned home to their families. We invite everyone to stand with us to maintain support for our Chibok girls throughout this ordeal. Hopefully, one day, they will find the courage to safely walk away from this forced marriage that they don’t deserve. Kechie’s Project, will continue to fight for the kidnapped girls and raise the issue of the disparities of girl children in Africa. 

​As a New York based non-profit organization we are dedicated to “empowering and educating” underprivileged and under-represented girls in Nigeria to reach beyond their poverty, gender, and cultural limitations. Since 2010 all of us at, Kechie’s Project, have been providing educational scholarships to selected girls in Nigeria, while delivering mentorship opportunities to our girls here in Harlem, NY, to whom we are equally committed. 

​Now more than ever, we are determined to utilize the support of the global community and other affiliate organizations to help our girls. We know that when girls are educated and empowered, they become anything that they want to be from Scientists, Educators, CEOS, Doctors, Lawyers, and phenomenal mothers that raise the standards for the next generation of girls in Africa and globally.

​All girls have a right to education, and all of us at Kechie’s Project, will continue to work tirelessly to empower, educate and cherish all girls.

​Nkechi Ogbodo

​President
Kechie’s Project, Inc.

​(Kechie’s Project is a 501 3(c) nonprofit)



Open Letter: International Day of the Girl Child


​Dear World Leaders,


My name is Nkechi Ogbodo and I am a Nigerian/American and Founder of Kechie’s Project, a 501c3 non-profit organization committed to empowering girls to become future leaders.


While I am proud of the progress and what I have achieved for myself since my sojourn in the United States, nothing gives me greater  joy than knowing that I am now a grown woman with clear choices, sure of what I want out of life. Nothing gives me more confidence than knowing, as a beneficiary of education, that I am doing my part in my own little way to help empower and educate selected girls. However, I realize that there are many women and girls in our world today who may never have the same opportunities and choices that I currently have. For them, the playing fields are simply not the same. I worry a great deal about their future and the future of our world.


As we celebrate “International Day of the Girl Child” today, October 11, I want to recall all that has happened in Nigeria during the past few months and ask a few big questions: Where are our girls? What really happened to them? How are they coping? How can we celebrate without
them? What efforts are we making and are being taken by world leaders and the world community to find these girls? How can the world move on without finding our girls? 


I celebrate Malala Yousafzia, who, despite all that she went through, still finds the courage to stand up for girls all over the world. I also want to celebrate the 234 Malalas of Nigeria whose futures are simply on hold because they were getting an education. I will celebrate their parents who, with so little to live for, believed in educating their daughters for a better future than they had. I want to celebrate the unknown Malalas all over the world whose voices and pleas we have not heard.                                


The global appeal for the empowerment of women and girls has become a movement that should no longer be ignored by world
leaders, especially African leaders. When you engage young girls and educate them, you are helping them to get out of poverty.  You are helping them to make better choices with their lives and provide a better future for their own children. When you educate and empower a girl, you empower the future and help lift a generation out of the cycle of poverty.


I am a beneficiary of education not only because my late father believed in educating his girls, but because education has given me the power to grow up, learn and accept who I am. With the opportunity that I had living in the United States of America, I realize that there are many girls around the world who don’t have the same prospects. The access to education and the freedom of expression and opinion without persecution—even when disagreeing with a popular belief—are basic human rights that most women and girls in some parts of the world do not have. America lets you be who you are without judging you.  America lets you be an independent thinker from day one. America lets you voice your opinion and be respected for it. 


Nigeria gave me the foundation of who I am, but it is America that perfected it. The freedom that I have found in America, the freedom to believe in myself, to express my views, to stand up for what I believe in without fear or favor is more important than anything else. That freedom that I have found, I cherish and I will use it to address any form of injustice against women, girls and all.


Knowing that I am a world citizen that I belong to those who are doing their part no matter how small, to change Nigeria and ultimately the world, for the better makes me proud. Knowing that I am speaking up even when it is not of popular opinion gives me strength. I hope that
one day when I look back that I will be proud to have been counted as one of those who stood up for justice for Chibok girls of Nigeria. 


Happy International day of the Girl Child!


Sincerely,
Nkechi Ogbodo
President, Kechie's Project


Chibok And Beyond

Staying The Cause and Standing Up for Nigerian Girls and Women


​This morning I will be traveling to Washington, D.C. to continue to press for the return of our kidnapped Chibok girls. There I will stand in solidarity with other relentless women like Ruth Idahosa, Professor Okome and Omalade of 4Accountability.

​At this time when we must all rise to stamp out ignorance and educate people, we seem too preoccupied with things that do not matter. We are busy giving awards instead of pressing for adequate security for all people of Nigeria and demanding that our girls are returned. We are busy discussing the hairstyle of Mrs. Biya while our women and girls are being raped and subjugated.

​We must have the courage to stand up for justice. My travel to Washington is to advocate for the Chibok girls and to use my voice for voiceless Nigeria women and girls.

​Today, I shall also stand for my Mother, Mrs Rebecca Ogbodo, who 3 years ago was herself kidnapped and held hostage for 8 weeks in an uncompleted building in the middle of the forest by fellow townsmen demanding ransom from my family

​.Today, I will stand up in memory of my Dad, who like the Chibok parents, believed in the education of his girls for better opportunity in life. For me, Chibok is personal and I will continue to stand for the empowerment and education of Nigerian girls.

​We must demand change and accountability from our leaders. We must learn to look beyond our personal, financial and ethnic interests and start working for the common interest of Nigeria. While I am happy that Africa is being celebrated this week and many pledges are made towards provision of technology, banking and energy, we cannot forget this fact: Without security, there is no investment and development.

​A government is supposed to work for the people. We should demand no less from our African Leaders.

We must continue to do our part in whatever capacity we can knowing that our government cannot do it all. But, we must never lose the courage to speak up and tell our government the truth. If we are to move our continent forward, business as usual should end today.

​I am going to Washington for my voice to be heard. Would you stand up?


Looking Forward 2014! 

Dear Supporters,


I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support and commitment to Kechie’s Project.  As I reflect on when Kechie’s Project the inception of this organization in December 2010, we have definitely come a long way. We have made great progress but as the case of all organization, we also have encountered a few challenges.

The year 2013 was a very challenging for Kechie’s Projects. For Kechie’s Project, the challenge we encountered gave me an opportunity to take a critical look at our organization, what we have accomplished, where we are going and also, a look at each individual board member’s contribution to the organization.

We once again fulfilled our yearly obligation to our girls in Nigeria. We travelled to Nigeria, paid their yearly school tuition and organized a panel discussion. With the support of Women in Logistics and Transportation Nigeria (WILAT), we celebrated International Month of the Girl/Child in Lagos. The panelists include female university and graduate students from Lagos State University who spoke about the many challenges girls
in Nigeria face and the solutions for overcoming these challenges.  To say the least, these discussions inspired and empowered our girls.

We donated computers to Adekunle Anglican Primary School in Makoko, Lagos, as well as a computer to the Makoko Youth Movement under the leadership of Apostle Aworitan. In Enugu State, despite the security challenge in the state, we visited Community Technical Secondary School, Obinagu Uwani Akpugo. There, we paid for our girls’ yearly school fees and donated computers to their school.

In Harlem New York, our cultural mentorship program at the Bread and Roses high school continues to be a success. Under the leadership of the school Principal Dr. Rodney Lofton and the SAPIS Counselor, Ms. Emma Thomas, we provided monthly cultural Luncheons for the girls in our group. We invited accomplished women and men to the school as guest speakers to help empower the students. To end their school year, we organized a fashion show featuring our girls.  Utilizing our fashion background, and the  support of Designers like Kristi Vosbeck, Aso Damisi and amazing companies like Brooks Brothers who donated their collections to the girls, we pulled off a spectacular show. Our class presentation at the PS 101Q in Forest Hills is still ongoing and the third-graders are already asking us to come back this year. Are we making a difference? Yes we are.

In a world full of many uncertainties, where women and girls especially those in the developing countries are more challenged than ever, we
have to step outside our comfort zone and do something making our own difference in the world. Girls today need support in education and mentorship. We are losing our teenagers to drugs, sex trafficking, armed robbery and atrocious crimes because our society is failing them. Access to education can help girls in undeveloped communities overcome these challenges.

At Kechie’s Project, we are deeply convinced that the freedom to choose and achieve empowerment comes from financial independence.  With these convictions, it is our organization’s mission to ensure that girls have the means to attend school when their families are unable or unwilling to support them.  Despite the spectacular progress we have made this year with the hard work of our volunteers, we face enormous resource limitations but a staggering waiting list of girls whom we are unable to help because of limited funding.  By meeting our fundraising target in the next year, we will be able to hire two full time staff members, extend our help to more girls in need of funds to attend school, and expand our Harlem program by 50% to benefit the increasing population African American and African girls in the city.

I am hoping for a fantastic 2014 where we will continue to put our mission and vision above everything else. A year where we will continue
to put ourselves out there for the girls we pledge to empower and sponsor their education. I am looking forward to a 2014 where we will add more schools in our mentorship program here in New York.  In this year, we will collaborate with other organizations to give our girls, especiallythose in the rural communities in Nigeria an opportunity to attain their full potential through education.


 This mission is dear to me. I will continue to cherish the opportunity my late Dad gave me through education.

Your contributions will allow us to empower our girls to be able to expand the choices they can make for their future. Thank you for your
continued support.


In service,

​Nkechi Ogbodo

Founder/President

Kechie’s Project Inc



Looking Back

Dear Board and Advisory Members:


Greetings to you all! As we move forward into the Year, I am reminded of how far we have come on this journey of ours. With your support, we have been able to provide selected girls in Nigeria access to education and  girls, mostly African Immigrants and their African American counterparts at the Bread and Roses high school Harlem, with mentorship support and monthly Cultural luncheons. We thank the principal of the school, Mr. Lofton Rodney and the school’s SAPIS Counselor, Ms. Emma Thomas for the opportunity and their unwavering support for our work. Many thanks to Mr. Moss of PS1010Q of Forest Hills Queens, for the opportunity to host a class presentation on Nigeria to the 3rd graders for two consecutive years. Through our presentation, the third graders were able to form a pen pal relationship with students of Straightgate elementary school in Magodo, Lagos. Thanks to Frank Swinand for making it possible!



I appreciate of all your support of our mission to educate and empower underprivileged girls in our communities and delighted with the progress we have made despite the hard economic recession of 2012. Our success and progress was made possible by the grace of God. I am happy to report that we added 11 more girls to our program in Nigeria in 2012. Again, through your support, their yearly school fees were paid during my visit to Nigeria last October. We created a new website and formally lunched our monthly cultural luncheons at the Bread and Roses High School, Harlem. I am deeply touched by Nnenna Agba’s efforts to accompany me all the time to the luncheons and observe how she inspires our girls.



As an inspiration, Fashion Designer Farai Simoyi Donated Boxes of sample clothes for the girls, Annicette Kessely, Barbara Modest, Miamah Richards all made donations for Thanksgiving and the Christmas Holidays. The girls were grateful for the gifts of Texas Instrument Calculators, Coats, Bags, gift cards, Cardigans and handbag. I want you to know that I recognize that this would not have been possible without your selfless service and passion to make a difference in people’s lives. There was no way all we achieved could have been possible without you by my side. Kechie’s Project is blessed to have friends and supporters like you.

Friends and members, despite the amazing success of last year, we are still faced with many challenges especially financial challenges to continue to carry on our work. We are struggling financially, which makes me afraid that Kechie’s Project may not be able to fulfill its commitments to the girls who depend on us for their future. I am asking for your help! Please reach out to your contacts and ask them to support this mission.



In 2013, our goal is to expand our activities in the most improvised areas of the Bronx and add more girls from other African countries like, Chad and Zimbabwe. We will continue our current plan in Nigeria without additional activities until the security situation in the Eastern part of the country improves. As entrepreneurship in fashion is part our long-term goal, we are looking for ways we can create a social enterprise business connected to Kechie’s Project to help us easily fund our mission of educating and empowering girls. Also on the agenda for this year are three events: Women’s History Month in March, Our annual Summer Event and Annual Winter Benefit Event.


As we continue our mission of empowerment and education for underprivileged girls both In Africa and here in the United States, as Board Members, Advisory and supporters, we each have a role in helping Kechie’s Project to grow and this year we wish to have a greater involvement of  Members.  



We also need more participation in social media i.e. Facebook and LinkedIn as well as distribution of our press releases and upcoming Press Kit. This will enable us to work on year round donations and fund raising, in addition to the previous event driven charity. 



Please share your thoughts and ideas so that we can continue our efforts for good.


Let’s keep the faith!!!! Let’s keep going!!!!! Looking forward to a fantastic 2013!!!!!!!


Yours truly,
Nkechi 


Thank you for making 2011 a Stellar year! 

Lets Make 2012 Better!

Dear Kechie’s Project Supporters,


Kechie’s Project first year in operation was a major success. We began a legacy of empowering girls with education to improve their lives and we look forward to 2012 as the next milestone to advance our mission.


In December 2010, Kechie's Project began with a modest vision, to provide funding to a group of girls who could no longer afford to attend school. We announced the need to aid 10 students, all under the age of 16, to stay in school in the village of Obinagu-Uwani, Nigeria.  Your response and compassion surpassed our expectations.  With your support, we were able to provided 17 full tuition scholarships, developed a college grant award and established four academic programs. You helped Kechie’s Project to become an organization in action.



So let's discuss the achievements of 2011 and our plans in 2012.


Ambitious Initiatives: Program that Educate and Empower


The Nigerian Initiative is an ambitious endeavor of two projects, KP Young Scholars Program and Sustainable Education Program.  These programs work together to provide girls with the access and means to quality education. KP Young Scholars Program, our core project, provided 17 girls in elementary and secondary school with full financial support to cover all of their school costs. 


During my trip to Nigeria last summer to distribute the scholarships, we found two significant challenges besides the cost of tuition that kept many girls out of school- feminine hygiene products and books.   Kechie’s Project responded by organizing The Book and Feminine Care Drive.  Along with KP scholars receiving feminine care products, Kechie’s Project was able to donate 1000 workbooks to all the students of the Community Secondary School in Obinagu-Uwani, Akpugo, Enugu State and Adekunle Anglican Primary School in Makoko, Yaba, Lagos.  To continue our efforts, we created The Sustainable Education Program to respond to the needs of schools and students so the can attend school and learn with the necessary resources.


The Harlem Cultural Exchange program enriches African American children in the New York City area with the opportunity to discover the rich cultural heritage of Africa.  We made a presentation on  Nigerian history and culture to third graders at PS101Q school in Queens and their enthusiasm to learn more about Africa led them to write letters to Kechie’s Project asking us to return
soon. Along with our workshop, we donated shoes and books to students at Bread and Roses High School in Harlem during the Christmas season.

To expand our efforts in the US, Kechie’s Project and The Kalu Foundation partnered to establish the Kechie’s Project/Kalu Humanitarian Grant Award for women in college who want to contribute to community after graduation. Gertrude Chimhungwe at Buffalo University School of Pharmacy is the first awardee of the program.  Her future goals include returning to her home country of Zimbabwe to provide health care services to the poor.


Devoted Corporate Sponsors


Arik Airlines generosity made executing many of our projects possible.  The launch of our 2010 Inaugural Gala, expeditions to Nigeria and scholarship programs were achieved with the trusted support of Arik Airlines.  Like many of you, Arik  has contributed to Kechie’s Project from the beginning and we look forward to continuing our relationship as we move to strengthen our current programs. To Earth Rights
Institute, our fiscal sponsor, we thank you for your support.


Sponsors such as Yamerra, Marmi, Ebony Suns, Matt Hoyle of Nobu 57 were vital to us organizing exciting events such as the Summer Cocktail and First Year Anniversary Gala.  Both occassions increased our local and international presence and raise donations.

Lessons Learned and Looking Ahead 


Among our many reasons to celebrate, we must be honest and open about our areas of development. Kechie’s Project committed itself to give financial assistance to 17 girls throughout their academic careers along with sustaining our current programs. To maintain this

standard set in 2011, our fundraising initiatives must be efficient and effective. Last year over 70% of our funding came from hosting galas and cocktails.  Events as a main funding stream puts our young organization and the children we serve at risk. Venue, food and the administrative cost of organizing events greatly stained our budget. This year we may face a deficit.


In 2012 we will diversify our revenue streams by raising awareness through social media and communicating to our
community of supporters in America and Africa.  Kechie’s Project will provide more opportunities for the global community to become aware and involve in our current initiatives.


2012 Next Step: Growing our friendship with you and the world to empower the women of tomorrow


Our membership program and virtual community are just a few teasers of how you can become more involved. Stay tuned in the next few months, you will be hearing about our progress and vision to expand the KP community and improve our current initiatives.

 

You helped Kechie’s Project make an outstanding start, now it is time to grow awareness and strengthen our organization. We are on our way to creating a better world because we are empowering girls today.


Thank you again for your support.


Sincerely,

Nkechi Ogbodo 


Kechie's Project Looking Into the Future and Excited About 2011


Kechie’s Project is excited to make a great impact in 2011. With only launching in 2010, we are ready to start providing academic scholarships to deserving young girls under the KP Young Scholars Program. Our hard work last year will allow us to help many girls in Africa. Last September Sarah Mathews, our Managing Director traveled to Nigeria to interview potential scholarship recipients.  She has met many eager and intelligent girls who dream of becoming professionals and giving back to their communities. Of the many deserving candidates, Sarah found some outstanding students who live in the village of Obinagu Uwani, Akpugo, Enugu State and in the Makoko area in Yaba, Lagos. The first KP Young Scholars recipients will be announced this summer.



It is thanks to our supporters that more girls in Africa will have access to education. Our premier gala, Freedom to be Fabulous in New York last December was a great success.  We raised enough to provide scholarships and develop The Nigeria Initiative, a campaign to support schools in underserved areas.  As we embark on 2011, we plan to expand our number of awards and global network.

With the support of our generous donors, enthusiasm of our volunteers and cooperation of  other organizations, such as our fiscal sponsor Earth Rights Institute, a 501c3 organization, we can change the lives of many young deserving girls in need of the opportunity to pursue their potential.