Have You Met Itofa Ivarah? The Force Driving Change in Nigeria's UnderServed Communities
Updated: Jun 25
At 16, Itofa had a dream to change the lives of children in some of the most underserved communities in Nigeria.
Now, a non-profit management consultant by day, and a changemaker by night, Itofa Ivarah is working to reduce poverty by empowering communities to be self-sustaining, providing education to children in rural areas, and providing and sharing the Christian gospel to people in communities.
Itofa was not born into wealth so, with a turbulent childhood, his parents made one thing clear; education was a priority. Education opened up his mind to the possibilities and the impact he could create.
In 2018, Itofa and his friends founded Church on The Street with the belief that a day would come when the solutions they were proffering to disadvantaged economies and communities would be shared on global platforms.
We started with 4000 naira, which is less than $10 today, 4 friends and a big dream that we could change the world. Today, 4 years later, we have over $12,000 dollars in funding, we currently have over 1000 volunteers in the organisation, and are serving 8000 families in Nigeria. That was my cradle and little beginning.
The mission of Church on The Street is simple, to give food to hungry children born into and support fellow entrepreneurs living in rural communities.
At first, a lot of people did not believe what he was doing was valid. And the biggest challenge was how to raise money but, he persisted and learned how to share his story and convince others to buy into the vision that they could change the world.
I learnt the power of the good ask, persistence and communicating your vision. Until your vision consumes you as a founder, no one will believe in what you are doing.
To Itofa, change is a self-concept. When you look within and believe that you are change in yourselfan and you bring value, you are on your way to making impact.
Itofa's winning formula to change the world is simple.
Self-Concept + Corresponding Actions + A Strong Belief System That You Can Change The World
Itofa's goal is for his organizations to be that point of contact for children to be empowered, to stretch their imagination, and show them that through education they can achieve everything. The vision and mission are clear, to provide interventions for marginalized children and rehabilitation for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria.
Itofa has grown from a child being hungry to feeding hungry children, and from being kicked out of school because he could not pay his tuition fees to driving change and building schools for children in underserved and disadvantaged communities. And he is just getting started!
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WRITTEN BY Chizulu Uwolloh.
'Zulu is a writer, self-proclaimed bibliophile, lawyer, and international development professional passionate about social impact and showing people how they can create change in their communities. Zulu Uwolloh is a lawyer and international development professional. She is also the founder of Kurerie, a digital platform, and community that amplifies the voices of youth making an impact in their communities. Kurerie educates young people on how they can become active stakeholders in the achievement of the SDGs. She is passionate about showing young people that they can change the world with the smallest actions.
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