FOUNDERS OF CHILDREN’S CENTRE
Virginia (Jill) Dike – Initiator of the Library Committee that planned the Children’s Centre; chair of the Library Committee from 1978-2002; secretary of the Children’s Centre Committee, 1985-1992, chair from 2002 to date; financial secretary of UWA 1976-1979 and treasurer 1993-1997; coordinator of the library throughout its history, initiator of prison library and schools outreach programs. Played active role in organizing vacation programs in the 1980s and in supervising those of more recent years; active in the motherless babies project. Initiated and coordinated linkage with the Department of Library and Information Science.
Wilhelmina (Willi) Kalu – Initiator of the Children’s Centre project as secretary of UWA from 1977-1979; chair of the Children’s Centre Committee from its inception in 1980 to 1996, and from 1999 to 2001 and president of UWA 2001-2002; chair of the original playground committee (1978-1980); initiator of the children’s festival of 1979, youth forum of 1985, and Children’s Centre theater of 1986; initiator of the Motherless Babies Project; founder of the Psycho-Educational Testing Services (PETS) in 2000.
Ogo Amucheazi – (on the right in picture) Foundation member of the Library Committee; early participant active in library story hour, training workshops, and excursions; active in outreach developing information skills of primary school children.
Gloria Ofo (deceased)- Third foundation member (on the left in picture) of the Library Committee that began planning the library in 1977; provided the original library furniture; recently retired from Enugu Campus Library.
Maria Chukwumah (1931-2007) – President of UWA 1977 to 1987, during the crucial formative years of the Children’s Centre. It was she who suggested the name “Children’s Centre” as an expression of what we were trying to accomplish. She participated actively in the preparations leading up to the opening of the library, as a leader of the delegation to alumni donors, as chairman of the Implementation Committee constituted to oversee expenditure of development funds, and as a participant in the hand-over of the Madam Hulder Iwuanyanwu Building to the University in 1986.
Terri Emezi – Foundation committee member; former vice-president of UWA; current vice-chair of the Children’s Centre Committee. One of the earliest and most active members of the Library and Playground Committees, she remained active in these areas, as well as in story hour, junior activities, and youth forum programs. until moving to the U.S. in 2016.
Mary Ellen Chijioke – early and active member of the Library Committee who pioneered cataloguing of the collection and organization of student practicals; organizer of many Children’s Centre long vacation activities such as junior day camp, youth forum, learning skills, art, cookery and baking; continued to contribute throughout her stay in US 1988-2008.
Edith Ihekweazu (deceased) – Active member of the Library and Playground Committees and Treasurer of UWA during the early years. Her family has established an alcove housing the African Children’s Literature Research Collection in her honor and donates N20,000 a year for collection development.
Maria Nwaegbe – Long-time member of the Children’s Centre Committee and Financial Secretary of UWA in the early years; organizer of long vacation cookery and sewing classes and excursions; helped organize the Silver Jubilee celebration before retiring to her hometown in 2004.(on the left in Picture)
Joann Ezeilo – Early member of the Playground and Library Committees; has continued to contribute to Children’s Centre programs from her retirement in England and visited the Children’s Centre to mount activities during visits to Nigeria .
Ann Osuji – Active early member of the Library Committee; used her position in the university library to donate disused furniture still being used today; introduced book repair activities. shown here (center rear) on excursion to zoo
Ebele Maduewesi (deceased) – One of the earliest and most active committee members and library volunteers; a very supportive president of the University Women’s Association (1987-90); Children’s Centre Committee chair from 1997-99. As president of UWA she initiated the linkage between the Children’s Centre Library and Department of Library and Information Science; served as chair for 25th anniversary celebrations and resumed a key leadership role in UWA and the Committee after her retirement to Nsukka.
Judy Osuala (deceased) – Active member, organizer of activities and chair of sub-committees from her arrival on campus in 1980 until her death in December 2006; early member of the Library Committee; leading participant in long vacation activities such as sewing, art, caring for others, and learning skills, as well as a coordinator for the annual Christmas caroling and chair of the equipment sub-committee (2004-2006). A professor of adult education, Judy offered to donate her materials on women’s studies, a collection that has now been developed in her memory.
Peris Maduka – Active member in the 1980s and early 1990s who made special contributions to the Motherless Babies Project through her position as coordinator of Social Work practicals. She also taught Kenyan dishes in cookery class, led excursions, and helped organize the Ecumenical Religious Activities Program (ERAP) from 1983-85.
Philippa Chineme (deceased) – Active member from the mid-1980s to the 1990s; active and supportive Vice-President of UWA 1987-90; coordinator of 1987 long vacation program; shared her talents in sewing and cookery activities and participated as a leader in excursions and junior activities (mother to left in photo); active library volunteer.
Julie Okpala – Active member who also served as President of UWA from 1993-1995; made special contributions to environmental programs, initiating a conservation club and waste recycling program in 1993, and as a donor to prison libraries; until she retired to England. Shown here between two youth corpers at 1993 long vacation show. (Middle in Picture)
Kodili Ezeike – Strong member of the Children’s Centre Committee in the late1980s; active library volunteer and excursions organizer, very supportive secretary of UWA from 1987-90; caroling coordinator; currently living in the United States.
Nancy Achebe , nee Okafor – Active member who made special contributions to the library as a library educator during her years of residence in Nsukka in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She has rejoined the Committee and played a key supportive role since returning to the Nsukka campus as Head, Department of Library and Information Science
Grace Anyanwu – Active member since the 1980s; served as committee secretary and former vice-president of UWA. As a university lecturer in home science and child and family studies, she has taken a leading role in creative arts, puppetry, cookery, junior activities and youth forum. She was later active in the playground development and prison library sub-committees.
Chiazo Igboeli – Active and committed committee member since the 1980s; university lecturer in health education; active in the motherless babies project, vacation activities, and youth forum; convener of the women’s book club.
Elisabeth Odenigbo – Active member in the 1980s who developed the Motherless Babies Project and made significant contributions to long vacation programs, serving as coordinator, conducting junior baking classes,(as shown in photo) leading caring for others and teaching about health issues; currently living with her family in Germany but has continued to contribute to the Children’s Centre and Motherless Babies Project up to the present.
Sylvia Uhiara – Active member, best known for her faithful service keeping the library on Friday evenings for years; organizer of long vacation sewing classes; treasurer of UWA; coordinator of SAP thrift shop; retired to her home town in 2004. (Shown right at Founders’ Day awards dinner.)
Bibiana Ukaegbu – Active library volunteer in the late 1980s; organizer of children’s activities; now living in the United States, from where she continues to make book donations to the library.
Jo Alumanah – Active member and former committee secretary; active in children’s vacation programs, youth forum, and the motherless babies project; caroling coordinator
Jo Okereke (deceased) – Active committee member and library volunteer in the 1990s; president of UWA 1995-1997; active participant in the motherless babies project and caroling. A nurse by profession, she introduced programs on alternative medicine and organized family planning workshops for the wider community, before leaving to work in Saudi Arabia in 2001
Lesley Onuora – Active committee member and treasurer of the Children’s Centre Committee. A physicist, she organized science activities during vacation programs; she and her family moved to England in the early 1990s, from where she has continued to contribute to the Children’s Centre
Janet Ndukwe – Active as committee member and organizer of art and science activities during long vacation programs; coordinator of the library during vacation periods; now living in England
Nkadi Onyegegbu – Committee member since the 1980s; treasurer of the Children’s Centre Committee until 2015; active in motherless babies project and youth forum; caroling coordinator
Edem Ikoku (deceased) – Patron of UWA and member of the committee in the late 1980s; strong supporter, along with her husband Vice-Chancellor Chimere Ikoku, of Children’s Centre programs; library volunteer; teacher of cooking and sewing classes
Ada Udechukwu – Secretary of the Children’s Centre Library Committee in the 1990s; active in school outreach program, reading club, and art activities; has continued to contribute extensively to the library and prison outreach program since her family’s move to the United States
FRIENDS OF CHILDREN’S CENTRE
Major Donors from the Early Years
Chief (Dr.) E. C. Iwuanyanwu, benefactor through the years, beginning in 1980 when he undertook to build our permanent facility, named in memory of his mother, Madam Hulder Iwuanyanwu. Together with his wife Eudora, he has graced occasions from the handover of the building in 1986 to our 25th Anniversary celebration in 2004 and been an ever faithful friend up to the present.
Prince Albert Koripamo, UNN alumnus who in 1981 donated our first 15-seater mini-bus and funds for the initial library collection. With this N10,000, a considerable sum in those days, we undertook a series of book-buying trips, reaching Enugu, Benin, Ife and Port Harcourt.
Governor Jim Nwobodo of Anambra State, special guest at the project launching in 1980, where he cut the tape to open the original playground and donated funds for the fencing of the Children’s Centre.
Sandor Peri, university architect in the 1970s and 1980s, who designed the building plan for the Children’s Centre building free of charge. Two tortoise play sculptures funded by the Sandor Peri Memorial Art Prize were added to the playground in 2013.
Foundation Vice-Chancellors & Other University Officers
James and Phoebe Ezeilo, Vice-Chancellor of UNN and Patron of UWA during the founding of the Children’s Centre. Prof. J.O.C. Ezeilo helped ensure that the Children’s Centre was part of the University of Nigeria master plan, while Phoebe Ezeilo’s shepherding of UWA through a crucial stage enabled the Association to become the mother of the project in 1978.
Frank and Edna Ndili, Vice-Chancellor of UNN and Patron of UWA as the Centre was developing during the 1980s; instrumental in making contacts with alumni donors, approving funds for initial playground development, launching of the project as part of the University’s 21st Anniversary Week and guiding UWA during a key period.
Chimere and Edem Ikoku, Vice-Chancellor of UNN and Patron of UWA during the crucial late 1980s and early 1990s. As Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ikoku approved a mutually beneficial relationship between Children’s Centre Library and Dept. of Library and Information Science. Patron Edem Ikoku provided strong leadership in UWA while at the same time volunteering actively in Children’s Centre programs. Both were ever ready to grace our events, as seen right during Educate Women for Development and left during Children’s Week in 1989.
Louis Agu, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) during the Centre’s crucial formative years in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In that capacity he was a friend the Centre could always count on when we ran into trouble, ensuring receipt of books sent from abroad, authorizing replacement of stolen Centre property, and graciously supporting all Centre events with his presence.
Chinedu and Ify Nebo, Vice-Chancellor of UNN and Patron of UWA from 2004-2009. Vice-Chancellor Chinedu Nebo was ever supportive of the Children’s Centre, attending our functions, providing five casual workers as support staff, and responding positively to our proposal for restructuring. Ify Nebo was UWA Patron and Children’s Centre committee member, gracing all our occasions and teaching the children sewing and cookery skills during vacation programs.
Additional Friends of the Children’s Centre
Ogbu Kalu (1942 – 2009) – Prof. Ogbu Kalu, husband of the Children’s Centre Committee’s founding chair, Prof. Wilhelmina (Willi) Kalu, played a crucial role in the development of the Children’s Centre. As a member of the University of Nigeria Governing Council from 1980-1984, he gained the support of the University administration and connected sympathetic alumni, in particular Chief E. C. Iwuanyanwu and Prince Albert E. Koripamo, to the Children’s Centre. The result was the Madam Hulder Iwuanyanwu Building, the Centre’s first bus and library collection, and the original playground.
Chris Uzuegbunam – As Alumni liaison officer Chris assisted in soliciting the support of Alumni donors and maintaining contacts with them over the years.
Sue Ubagu – Art teacher in vacation programs in the 1980s (as shown below) now resident in England . She has organized several fundraisers for the Children’s Centre at the Parkside School, where she was the art teacher until her retirement in 2008. When her daughter Uju died tragically in October 2006, Sue donated all inheritance and memorial gifts to rebuild the pavilion at the permanent site.
Staff rendering long and meritorious service
Rose Asogwa (on right in picture left), cleaner and later library assistant, from 1988 to date, here with
Greg Nwodo, (on left) driver of the bus and general library assistant from 1987 to 2008.
Lewechi Onyeabor, (right) typist and library assistant, from 1988 to 2004.