Growing up as a girl in Nigeria came with a number of adversities, though I was one of the few lucky ones with a Dad who valued education and supported his girls. It was a sudden stroke of inspiration when my parents decided to name me Nkechi, which means, “This is God’s Own". This name became a strong foundation for Kechie’s Project along with multiple essential life lessons.
According to my Mom, a family friend expressed disappointment towards my parents for giving birth to another girl. However, my Mom did not know how much the meaning of Nkechi changed the course of my life. I knew I was not going to grow up like an average girl and everything I did was different. I submerged myself with my studies and went on a race to find myself as I grew more familiar with my culture and realized the importance of equity for young girls. It was that race and the need to prove that girls are equally important that brought me to United States. In Igbo culture of the Eastern Nigeria and most African cultures, girls get married and boys carry the family name. However, In several African families and communities, women are equally holding down their families and yet they do not get the full support they need.
During my yearly trips to Nigeria, the conditions that I witness continue to empower me to make a difference. Every time I visit, I see girls who value education but due to the lack of finances from their families, they are forced to drop out of school. Each time, I see the beauty and the inner strengths of young girls and women trying to do it all, with smiles on their faces despite hardships. They are able to only do the bare minimum needed for theirs and their family’s survival.
I realized after years of working and continuously wanting to make more, that something significant was missing in my life. Suddenly, things that used to mean something to me changed. Having my closet filled with things, knowing that not every girl can afford a pair of sandals no longer made sense to me. There is nothing wrong with working hard and wanting the good things in life, however I believe there has to be a balance somewhere. I feel more fulfilled now than ever, knowing that I am touching lives and making a difference in my community.
In 2011, my 68 years old Mother was kidnapped for a ransom in Enugu State of Nigeria and was held for two months. Upon her return after this traumatic experience, my beloved father passed away shortly after. This situation has increased my drive to give a voice to other women in Nigeria and other countries in Africa, who cannot speak out against the onslaught of injustices for themselves. With your support, Kechie’s Project will help girls have access to education and improve their overall wellbeing. Help Kechie’s Project to show our girls how important education is. With your support, we can empower smart, intelligent, impoverished girls and help them receive full educational scholarships and social support. Imagine the mountains they can move if given a chance! At Kechie’s Project, our goal is to educate, empower and improve the lives of girls in Nigeria, Africa and our home base, Harlem New York. All our girls need is knowledge and the support to reach for the stars. Empower a girl, and she will empower her family, community and nation!