A YOUNG MAN’S HOPE FOR IMPACT IN NIGERIA
We were sitting around a dirty, white, plastic lawn table surrounded by a half dozen young Nigerians when we met Ifeanyichukwu Aneke. Ifeanychukwu means “nothing is beyond God’s power.” Ifeany shared with the group his hopes and dreams of helping young people in his country. He admitted that the challenges they face are very big.
Nigeria is made up of 372 tribes living within a divided, corrupt and difficult society, especially for young people. Ifeany explained to us how the Igbo tribe that makes up most of his community only does what serves their own self-interest. The young man knows first-hand how much faith Nigerian youth must have to even believe that they could get a job let alone be able to one day reach their dreams.
Ifeany listened to story after story of Boy With a Ball teams in other countries going into universities to draw volunteer forces that reach out into their communities. While Ifeany had dreamt of finding an opportunity to change his country, his first response to hearing our words was sadness as he wondered if it could work. Yet slowly his heart began to believe it just might be possible.
Ifeany had to take a step of faith. He had to take a step and believe that “nothing is beyond God’s power,” just like his name tells us. He had to chose to believe this crazy idea just might work.
The next day, we traveled together to Enugu State University with Ifeany and Boy With a Ball Nigeria Director Emeka Udeh to meet with the school’s Vice Chancellor and, very quickly, the powerful man committed his university to a full partnership with Emeka, Ifeany and their team. Ifeany’s heart swelled with joy as he shared passionately with the school’s leaders how young Nigerians find themselves “holding their lives in their hands” and “how we can work together to help them discover and then realize the full potential for their lives.”
The university’s response was a miracle for Ifeany. He had encountered a “crazy idea” that he chose to believe was possible. He had to step out in faith and he encountered an unexpected response.
Ifeany smiled. He began talking about next steps for his team in the community. Real hope doesn’t stop with a single victory but looks for the next impossibility to overcome.