Thousands of small business owners, petty traders and artisans in Abia North Senatorial District of Abia State showered encomiums of gratitude on the Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation over the successful conclusion of its Small Business Zero Interest Free Loan Scheme.
The Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation, a non-business/political entity, had launched the first phase of the scheme in January 2018.
The second phase of the business empowerment scheme commenced in August 12, 2019 with the distribution of zero interest loans worth millions of Naira to petty traders and artisans in Abia North Senatorial District in order boost their businesses.
The Foundation’s Team comprising of both staff and volunteers led by its Executive Secretary, Rev. Jemaimah Ola Kalu, a retired Permanent Secretary, stormed the remote communities/wards in the five Local Governments of Abia North to ensure that the funds were distributed to deserving beneficiaries.
In a statement issued on social media, Rev. Kalu announced the conclusion of the second phase of the petty traders empowerment exercise.
She thanked the Chairman of the Foundation, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, for his generosity and compassion for the less privileged in the society.
She also extended gratitude to the foundation’s workers and development partners for their contribution to the success of the exercise.
The statement read: “The second phase of the Orji Uzor Kalu Foundation ward to ward Petty Traders empowerment programme in the 103 ABSIEC wards(as per the Foundation’s rating) which started on the 12th of August, 2019 from Arochukwu Local Government Area was successfully concluded yesterday, Friday, 13th September, 2019 at the three(3) ABSIEC wards in Igbere, Bende Local Government of Abia State.
“We hereby thank God for the grace to finish successfully, divine strength and speed, journey mercies and protection.
“We thank the Chairman of the Foundation Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, the Board of Directors, our staff and volunteers, Key Stone Bank Staff Umuahia, especially the Bank Manager who ensured his staff attended to us very promptly,. We also thank our other development partners and all those who upheld us in prayers.”
Speaking on behalf of thousands of other beneficiary petty traders, Alice Okereke, a community leader in Lokpanta Ward, applauded the initiative of the OUKF for its laudable activities in Abia State and beyond, noting that if other well meaning Nigerians emulate Dr. Orji Kalu, the country will be a better place to live.
Okereke described the gesture as “life changing,” adding that with the loan, her business and those of others will definitely grow beyond expectation.
She said: “We know Orji Kalu for his good works and passion for the people.
“He is a giver and a man with compassion, I must confess.”
The Foundation was granted a Special Consultative status by the United Nations NGO branch (Office of the ECOSOC Support and Coordination) on July 26, 2017.
Over the years, the OUKF has been involved in numerous empowerment programmes, namely Free Palm Seedlings for farmers, Free Medical Outreach, Peace Initiatives, Youth Empowerment Summits, Scholarship Awards, Cultural/Tourism promotion Activities and other social investment programmes in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030.