A Life of Service: Helen Oritsejafor’s Philanthropic Legacy

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 “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

In a world often clouded by self-interest and greed, rare individuals emerge whose lives emanate hope and compassion, inspiring us all to strive for a brighter tomorrow. Dr. Helen Oritsejafor exemplifies this exceptional character. She is not only a philanthropist, social entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for women’s empowerment but also a beacon of selflessness and transformative leadership. With unwavering dedication, she has devoted her life to uplifting others and profoundly impacting their lives. Her story transcends mere acts of generosity; it is a testament to her relentless pursuit of transforming communities and effecting lasting change. Through her example, Dr. Oritsejafor illustrates that true leadership is defined by service to others.


Born into a family that deeply valued education and community service, Helen Oritsejafor absorbed these principles and carried them forward with unwavering commitment, making it clear from a young age that she was destined to make a difference. Her journey into philanthropy was not a mere career choice but a calling that grew stronger over the years, culminating in the establishment of the Helen Oritsejafor Foundation in 2013 and the Dr. Helen, A Hand To The Needy Foundation in 2021. Her philanthropic activities have been centered on empowering women and girls through education, healthcare, and economic initiatives, focusing on literacy, vocational training, and microfinance programs, which have positively impacted thousands of lives across Africa. Her foundation also provides crucial support to communities affected by natural disasters, conflict, and poverty, reflecting her broad commitment to social welfare and demonstrating her dedication to making a lasting difference.


In 2019, Dr. Oritsejafor organized an empowerment scheme where over 500 individuals were trained in various enterprises, ranging from poultry and fishery to fashion design, both theoretically and practically. She not only provided the necessary training but also financially empowered them with millions of Naira as startup capital, enabling them to purchase starter packs for their various enterprises. Through her foundation, Dr. Helen “A Hand to the Needy Foundation,” she provided financial support to small and medium-scale enterprises that were severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. She offered startup capital ranging from N300, 000 to N500, 000, helping these businesses to recover and sustain their operations, mitigating the economic impact of the pandemic, and allowing entrepreneurs to rebuild their livelihoods and continue contributing to the local economy.


In October 2021, she began by empowering about 500 widows with cash and food items, addressing their immediate needs and providing them with a sense of security. She is currently still empowering over 3,000 market women in Warri, Delta State, Nigeria, helping them to stay mobilized on the social strata and boost their trade and income. By focusing on these vulnerable groups, she aims to create a more inclusive economy where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, regardless of their circumstances.


In December 2021, as a means to extend her hand of love and put a smile on the faces of the less privileged despite the economic challenges, she reached out to both individuals and families in dire need in the remote parts of society. She empowered them with food items and cash donations, ensuring they were well-equipped to celebrate the festive season with a joyful heart. This act of kindness not only provided immediate relief but also fostered a sense of community and solidarity, reminding people that they are not alone in their struggles.


Helen Oritsejafor’s philanthropic endeavors have continued to reflect her relentless dedication to societal growth in recent years, empowering widows and providing succor to them. Her leadership qualities and exceptional understanding of human needs are a force to reckon with, as she consistently demonstrates a deep commitment to uplifting others. Her initiatives reflect a holistic approach to empowerment, addressing both immediate needs and long-term development, and her unwavering dedication serves as an inspiration to all who seek to make a positive impact in the world. Currently, her expanded initiatives include continued support for SMEs with financial assistance and training, educational scholarships, and community development projects.


Helen’s exceptional contributions have earned her numerous accolades, including being named the African Philanthropist of the Year 2022 by the African Leadership Magazine.

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