Appreciating CAFE at Six

By Emeka Ozumba 
Dr Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme)
Dr Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme)

It is instructive that amidst the uncertainties of the Coronavirus pandemic and insistence on physical distancing, the wife of Governor of Anambra State, Dr. (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) took up the gauntlet on 5th May 2020 to handover keys to two new 2-bedroom bungalows to two widows in Igboukwu and the sleepy town of Akwaihedi in Aguata and Nnewi South Local Government Areas respectively.

Conscious of the inherent risk of Covid-19 on the populace amidst calls from governments and relevant health bodies for people to safely stay home, but cognisant of the mounting challenges faced by persons with very poor habitation, Osodieme reasoned, “This is perhaps the best time to give these widows keys to the houses we built for them so that they can at least stay safe at home like others.”

Upon this conviction, she set out to fulfill her promise with strict adherence to the Covid-19 Protocol: no ceremonies, no crowd or clustering. That was how she handed over the keys to new places of abode to another set of excited beneficiaries. That act brings the count to twenty-seven houses built free for indigent widows across Anambra State by Osodieme's NGO, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ).

Founded on the 1st of August, 2014, on the wings of passion for helping the needy, the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative is six years today. The organization has within the short span of six years etched its name in gold in the pantheon of charitable organizations. As an umbrella Non-Governmental, non-partisan and non-profit organization for promoting the wellbeing of the family, CAFE has, through its numerous interventions and programmes, provided succour and impacted positively on the lives of the less privileged.

Already many attest that CAFÉ which set out with modest objective to become a beacon of sustainable empowerment for indigent women, widows, the physically challenged and the less privileged persons in Anambra state and beyond, has indeed already become a high impact humanitarian organization and a global champion of charitable causes.

Driven by an unusual compassion and belief in the remarkable thoughts of John Bunyan in The Pilgrim’s Progress that, “You have not lived today, until you have done something for someone who can never repay you,” Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano has effectively used the CAFÉ platform to expand the frontiers of charitable giving like never seen before in these paths. For instance, CAFE is promoting hygiene and the dignity of women with a campaign to stop Open Defecation.It has constructed 22 modern public toilets in rural markets across Anambra State. Also to assist women in hard-to-reach communities, the NGO has completed 47 water borehole projects to complement government efforts in water supply. In fact, the positive impact of the water projects has attracted global recognitions and partnerships with reputable organizations to CAFE, and appreciations of Mrs. Obiano’s charitable initiatives with conferment of awards as EU/UNICEF Water Health and Sanitation (WASH) Ambassador, as well as United Nations Peace Ambassador.

Dr Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme)

In the same vein, working in collaboration with Smile Train Incorporated, an international organization empowering local medical professionals to provide free cleft lip and/or palate surgery, CAFÉ has facilitated free corrective surgeries for over 100 children and persons with congenital mouth disorders of Cleft lip and Cleft palate at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH) Nnewi, Anambra State. Again in “recognition of her immense contributions and selfless services through CAFÉ to cleft care,” Mrs. Obiano was made Smile Train Ambassador on 29th March 2018.

CAFÉ has also provided over 2000 physically challenged persons with prosthetic limbs and mobility aides. But perhaps the most impactful and enduring programme of the NGO is in the promotion of human capital development with over 5,000 women beneficiaries, including widows and physically challenged, trained and empowered in various skills under its Skills Training and Empowerment programme. Also in collaboration with the state Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, CAFÉ has successfully treated and returned home over 100 mentally challenged persons at its 77-bed facility in Nteje, thus ridding Anambra streets of stray mentally challenged persons.

Free Skills Training and Empowerment

It is apposite to note that CAFÉ undertakes all these projects and programmes with personal funding and donations from benevolent ndi Anambra and well wishers. With this sterling performance of CAFE empowered by very limited tokens from a few persons and organisations, it promises even greater intervention with greater participation from more public spirited persons and bodies.

Community Health Assistants and Local Midwives.

Beyond CAFÉ’s celebrated achievements in the last six years, the hope in the NGO’s future is hinged upon its proven capacity and promises to increasingly improve and sustain its constructive engagements towards adding values to the lives of the less privileged and improving living standard in otherwise despondent homes.