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EPN Mission: Education Partners Nigeria is dedicated to the education of children of all faiths from primary grades to high school through the provision of essential infrastructures in the diocese of Idah, Kogi State Nigeria.
EPN Vision: Education Partners Nigeria fosters the intellectual and emotional development of students and equips them with the necessary skills to lead productive lives, to know, love and serve God and neighbor.
EPN Background: Fr. James Ojo, 52, grew up in the rural state of Kogi, Nigeria. He was educated at Catholic schools in the diocese of Idah, ultimately becoming involved in pastoral ministry and school administration. First as a student, and then as a teacher and secondary school principal for 6 years, Fr. James experienced the severe lack of basic infrastructures in many of the schools, which often lacked water, electricity, books, furniture, classrooms, and sanitary facilities. The few schools that had any infrastructure at all were severely run down and most were completely unusable due to lack of maintenance. The resulting educational environment was abysmal for both teaching and learning and greatly impacted the intellectual and emotional life of the young people, depriving them of knowledge, self-confidence, and self-esteem.
In 2011 Fr. James came to the US and joined Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston as a staff chaplain. He stayed closely connected with the Catholic Diocese of Idah, however, which kept him appraised of the ongoing needs in the community. Fr. James informally began to raise funds soon after his arrival in Boston. Over a period of two years, with the support of various benefactors and the pastor and parishioners of his local parish, Fr. James was able to raise enough money to cover some of the smaller requests. The first $15,000 raised enabled the acquisition of a pickup truck, a computer lab, books, and even the construction of a water tank and generator.
Fr. James realized that to have a greater impact in Idah a more formalized fundraising process was necessary. In June of 2018 he established Education Partners Nigeria Inc (EPN), a not-for-profit registered and based in Massachusetts. EPN coordinates its research, work, and services directly with Catholic partners in the Diocese of Idah, Kogi, Nigeria and with the Udama School Support Foundation, Ayangba Kogi State. EPN currently supports 6 schools in Kogi.