What We Are:
The ability to excel rests in knowing that there are opportunities and resources in each culture that are worthy of being shared. HOPE Africa helps deserving African students who have a deep determination to excel through education, by providing them scholarships to elite American Universities as well as providing a network of support, resources and opportunities. While in the United States, students will participate in service projects and engagement within their American communities. Empowered with educational resources and experiences, these young men and women will then be able to help countless others in their home countries by creating new and sustainable resources in the areas of education, health, medicine, human services, community structure, business or the environment.
Why We Are:
In the 1980’s a family immigrated from Umuahia, a small village in Nigeria to the United States with dreams of higher education and the determination to make those dreams a reality. Apollos and Rose Ihedigbo, along with their five children settled in Western Massachusetts. While holding a variety of odd jobs and caring for the children, both Apollos and Rose attended graduate school at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Both walked away with a PhD in education and an extensive network of resources. In 2001, they applied their degrees and newly accumulated resources to create a sustained opportunity for people from their home country and created a vocational school in Nigeria.
Sadly, Apollos passed away in 2002 and while he was able to see a portion of his dream become a reality, there was much more for him to do. Apollos’ wife and children knew that there were many more people like them, not only in their village, and not only in their country that had a drive to succeed but lacked the resources and the support to do so. The youngest Ihedigbo son, James, began a career in the National Football League in 2007, and chose to use that platform to further the dreams of his father. It was then, that HOPE Africa was born.
Where We Have Been:
The organization started with the general desire to help others who had the aspirations to succeed but lacked the means to do so. Nothing makes the inability to succeed more acute than when disaster or crisis strikes an area. Even without the formal mission of the organization yet created, HA decided to act quickly when the earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010. HA, along with its team of volunteers, led a three-day trip to Port-au-Prince, Haiti in March of 2010 distributing desperately needed books, food, water and medical supplies to those in need.
Understanding from the outset that partnering with other organizations could advance the goals of HA more widely, HA partnered with the Amobi Okoye Foundation, another non-profit with a similar vision. HA participated in a 13-day trip to Nigeria in March of 2011, sponsoring a 40ft container full of elementary school text books that were disseminated to local schools. While in Nigeria, the team also hosted sports camps and medical missions that directly impacted the quality of life for over 400 children.
The Board of Directors and volunteer staff of HOPE Africa knew they were helping people, but also knew that with a more pointed mission, they could do more. It was at that point, the true mission of HA was created.
Who We’ve Helped: