From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha

The Heavenly Elderly Charity Arena Foundation (HECHARENA) was recently unveiled in Enugu, offering hope for the elderly in society. Founded by Osinigwe Ezenwanyi Vera Ikokwu, the initiative aims to care for and promote the welfare of the aged and elders.

The inauguration ceremony drew people from diverse backgrounds, including those who came to celebrate Ikokwu’s children, Ifeoma, Maurice, and Maria. Seasoned broadcaster Ndudi Chude anchored the event.

Speaking at the inauguration, Ikokwu explained that the initiative stemmed from her appreciation for charity, instilled by her Christian-socialist family background and her love for her parents. She emphasized that the Foundation’s Board of Trustees would play a vital role in achieving its objectives, which include promoting enhanced health and welfare sustainability for the needy.

Ikokwu announced that N20 million naira has been earmarked to start the foundation, but N2 billion is needed to achieve its desired impact. She described the organization as dedicated to providing comprehensive care to vulnerable elderly individuals in Nigeria and creating a nurturing environment where they feel valued, understood, and supported.

“My personal appreciation of the importance of charity comes from the Christian-socialist family background that shaped me, and for the ever-green love and care towards my parents late Maurice and Maria in blessed memory. As a result of passion and hard work, Heavenly Elderly Charity Arena Foundation was founded on the belief that every person who deserves Charity should be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion, especially during their times of need,” Ikokwu said.

She emphasized that the foundation would provide support and solace to elderly individuals in need and indigent persons. It would also serve as a “beacon of hope” for individuals facing health challenges, emotional distress, or social isolation, as well as assisting with hospital bills and educational needs for pupils and students.

Ikokwu assured a holistic approach to caregiving that encompasses physical, emotional, and social well-being, including companionship, daily task assistance, and medical care coordination. She highlighted the dedication of the foundation’s team to ensuring that each individual receives the support and attention they deserve.

“Today, as we unveil the HECHARENA Foundation, we are guided by a deep sense of purpose and commitment to serving others with kindness, empathy, and respect. At the heart of our organization is a team of compassionate individuals who have come together with a shared vision of making a positive difference in the lives of those facing challenges,” Ikokwu said.

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She emphasized that the organization partners with private and government health centres, hospitals, nutrition institutions, and legal firms in Nigeria to fulfil its core values.

Ikokwu cited research indicating that over 50% of elderly individuals in vulnerable communities are abandoned, neglected, and uncared for, leading to high death rates. HECHARENA aims to address this issue by providing comprehensive care and creating a nurturing environment for the elderly.

“The wellbeing of your elderly ones is safe in our hands while you go about your daily activities and work. We choose to make a significant impact in the lives of those we serve,” Ikokwu stated.

She expressed the vision for a community where care is abundant, compassion is freely given, and support is readily available to all. HECHARENA strives to create a network of care and support that extends a helping hand to those who may feel alone or forgotten.

“As we embark on this journey of caregiving and compassion, let us remember that our actions have the power to bring light into the lives of others. Let us embrace each other to offer solace and understanding to those in need, knowing that our efforts have the potential to create a ripple effect of kindness and hope. Together, we shall make a difference and create a world where kindness and empathy reign supreme,” Ikokwu concluded.

Dr. John Nwakoby, the event’s Chairman, praised HECHARENA’s objectives as a noble project deserving of support from all. He lamented that the elderly are often left to fend for themselves without government or family support, creating a gap that the foundation seeks to fill.

Christiana Chinyere Aniekwe, an elderly woman present at the inauguration, prayed for Ikokwu’s strength and vigour to carry out the foundation’s mission.

Prince Victor Uba Udeh-Ubaka, a Trustee and Executive Director of the Foundation, expressed gratitude to all attendees and prayed for the realization of the foundation’s sustainable goals.

Winifred Ikokwu, a lawyer, welcomed guests to the ceremony, emphasizing that it was a testament to the collective effort of those who have worked tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of those they serve.

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