The Children’s Centre is the project of a voluntary association, the University Women’s Association (UWA) of the University of Nigeria at Nsukka, Nigeria. It has been developed by the voluntary efforts of the women, with support from the university community. It took off in 1978 with small grants from UWA and another women’s organization, the Nigerian Association of University Women (NAUW).
From the beginning, the primary fundraising activity of the Centre has been the annual Christmas caroling. The other major source of income is library registration fees and charges for lost or overdue books. The University Women’s Association has also channeled part of its fundraising proceeds toward Centre development. The Children’s Centre has received additional support from the University.
The Children’s Centre received a big boost in 1981 when Chief (Dr.) Emmanuel C. Iwuanyanwu offered to build its permanent facility. In 1986 he handed over the completed Madam Hulder Iwuanyanwu Building, named in memory of his mother, to the University as part of the Alumni donation to the University of Nigeria endowment fund.
Soon after the building opened, the University administration posted two staff, a typist and cleaner, to the Centre. Following the establishment of a relationship between the Children’s Centre Library and the Department of Library Science in 1988, these two staff, and later a librarian, were placed under the Department. In a similar way, National Youth Service Corps members are posted to the Centre. The Centre has received other forms of support from the Department and the University as required over the years.
The Centre depends heavily on donations. Chief (Dr.) E. C. Iwuanyanwu has assisted generously over the years; among his donations in addition to the building were funds for renovation prior to the 25th Anniversary and a 15-seater bus. Another alumnus, Prince Albert E. Koripamo, donated the Centre’s first 15-seater bus and funds for the basic book collection. A former Governor of the state where the Children’s Centre is located, Chief Jim Nwobodo, gave money for playground development, fencing and landscaping in 1981.
Children’s Centre has received a number of gifts in memoriam, including:
Chukwudi Tobenna Douglas Azikiwe children’s football field donated by Prof. Uche Azikiwe in memory of her grandson,
Uju Ubagu pavilion supported by Sue Ubagu in memory of her daughter
Two Tortoise play sculptures from Liz Peri, given in memory of her husband, Arch. Sandor Peri, who designed the Children’s Centre building free of charge
African Children’s Literature Research Collection alcove and annual book grant, given in memory of Prof. Edith Ihekweazu by her children.
Donor agencies and libraries in the United States and Europe are another source of support. Notable among current donors are the Indianapolis Public Library and Traverse Area District Library, both in the United States. People United for Libraries in Africa (PULA) collaborated with Children’s Centre in developing primary school and prison libraries through book donations.
Many individuals and groups within the community and nation have donated money and books, while other major donations have come from committee members who have moved overseas and grown children at home and abroad, who remember the impact the Children’s Centre library and activities made on their lives.
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