Pastor Chika Anaekwe is the founder of City of David World Christian Center. He is a man on a mission – to tackle youth unemployment in his hometown, Awka, Anambra State. How does he do that? He set up a skills acquisition/training academy where young people can learn whatever skill they want, free of charge. No, seriously! FREE.
He believes if people are equipped with useful skills, they will make good use of those skills and create wealth for themselves, reducing the rate of unemployment, crime and social vices in our society. He also believes the cost of acquiring these skills should not be an impediment.
I wanted to find out exactly what courses they offer and what drives his ambition to achieve this audacious mission. Hear from the man himself.
Pastor Chika: These are the courses we offer:
- Furniture making
- Skin care/cosmetics
- Fashion design
- Electrical Wiring
- Paint production
- Computer training
- plumbing and more…
All these things we offer free of charge.
Free of charge?
Free of charge, no kobo paid. Just come in here and learn some useful skills for yourself. This is not only a training center, it’s a school. We just held our first matriculation and so far we have about 120 enrolled students. We look to getting more people involved so we can get as much people off the streets as possible. We want them to be skillfully and gainfully employed.
The kind of training we offer here is world-class. Take fashion design for example, if it is just to cut and sew I would never have started that department. My goal is to train professional designers who hold their own exhibitions and have their own runways. We can train people who can make great designs and have their own label in the market. We want to have people who will go into paint production and so on. We open their eyes to opportunities.
We also have intervention programs for widows which comes up every December. What happens to these widows? If I, an able-bodied man, am complaining of hardship, what chances do these widows have? How do they survive? We need to remind them that God is still alive, that God is still their husband. That is what we do.
What are the challenges you face and how do you finance this expensive project?
Our major challenge here is people. Those people who need this training, those people I created this project for, I am not getting them. We need more ways of reaching out to these people and letting them know that this is happening. I hear people complain all the time about lack of jobs. I can train up to 200 unemployed graduates and send them to different states and they will still be making money. None of them would earn less than 100k per month, but where are they? I don’t see them.
Regarding finance, I’m into skin care. That is my department and the business arm of this project. I channel the income I get from my work into this mission. But you must understand, where God leads, God provides. God has been faithful. We still pay the teachers because I don’t handle the training myself. But when you ask God, and once you understand that these things are core values in God’s heart, He makes the way.
Of course we still face the challenge of finance because this is a large project. We are planning for the youth summit. A lot goes into planning and logistics and that is a big challenge. We have been able to do a lot through the business arm of this project (skin care). Through the mercies of God we are doing it.
Would you welcome partnership/sponsorship from individuals or the government?
Of course! That is my prayer everyday. It is not a one man thing. If people will come, why not? I welcome them. The training I do is not to take glory or gain popularity. That is why I don’t make noise.
All of us here share the same vision and we need more people to come in and partner with us. I want government to come in.
Right now we are building the permanent site for the project, a 10,000 capacity hall. Work has commenced there. We are looking at the future where we train secondary school students.
People usually don’t value what they don’t pay for? Does it bother you that people might start questioning your motives for this project?
Actually, no. whatever you do, people must look at your intentions. First of all, I’m a pastor in a big ministry, Dominion City. So I have a background where I come from. People don’t even come now that it is free. What happens when you attach cost to it? Some of them come here and complain about transportation. What happens when you ask them to pay school fees?
Our students pay a little amount (2k or thereabout) for registration, ID card, and a sign of personal commitment.
The crux of the project is to raise people for God and for the society, people who will be useful to themselves. It’s not like I need their money, I don’t. I’m not jobless. I’m a skin care professional and I make good money. People come from Sokoto, Abuja and all over to look for me. I need more people to make money like I do.
So I really don’t bother much what people would say. If what we are doing is genuine, heaven will prove it.
So what motivates you to run this project?
It’s a mission project. I had it rough and I asked God to bless to me. I said, “God, if you bless me, I’m going to do this.” He has blessed me, he is still blessing me and so I’m keeping my end of the deal. We still have special training to raise people in the way of the Lord because I can’t train someone who goes out and becomes an armed robber. I want to train people that will carry this vision and train others.
We train people to be responsible, future leaders and good Christians. What we are planning now is the youth summit where we bring young people above 16 years of age and get them together to share ideas. We fixed it around November because most of the students are still on vacation. We are looking at the last week in November.
Please, help us understand the man behind this project. Tell us about yourself
Ok. I’m Chika Anaekwe, from Awka in Anambra state. I was a footballer in my youth. I played for Rangers, Shooting Stars, Kano Pillars, Kwara United until I got injured. Life became tough after my injury. I wanted to travel out but I got duped and I lost all the money I made. With the injury, I stopped playing. Then everything turned upside down, all my friends left.
I struggled so much to turn things around, my family did all they could but it seemed like pouring water on a rock. I did different businesses – I would write proposals to different companies and my proposal would be accepted but in the end, something would happen and I would get kicked out. I became a professional beggar. It was so rough there was nothing to eat. Long story short, my wife walked away and I was left with 3 kids. It came to a time I told God, “I am tired! If you bless me, I will start this project” That was how the journey started.
I left for the south-east and settled here in Awka. In 2006, I went into skin care in Eke-Awka. Things started turning around. In 2010, I got a contact from Bayelsa and gradually, my business expanded to Bayelsa. I opened an office there and that was how the success story evolved. I moved to a new, bigger office here in Awka and maintain my office in Bayelsa. My vision now is to train people here and through them establish other offices in other states so I can remain here and focus on our youth empowerment/skills acquisition project. So that is my story in a nutshell.
Editor’s note: We could complain so much about the state our dear country is in. We could complain about our government and how terribly disappointing they are. But then we can borrow a leaf from Pastor Chika and take proactive, practical steps towards creating the kind of country we want our nation to become.
I’m happy to say I joined Pastor Chika in his project the very day I met him because what he is trying to achieve is everything we represent here at nextnaijaentrepreneur.com. I will commit my time, energy and resources to achieving this glorious dream.
You can be a part of this project too. Together, let us take back our country and make it what we want it to be.