2018-07-11 / Front Page

WIN Foundation Brings Its Special Mission To Queens

By Thomas Cogan

Chetachi Nwoga-Ecton, founder and CEO of When in Need Foundation, in Nigeria in 2018.
 

Chetachi Nwoga-Ecton, founder and CEO of When in Need Foundation, in Nigeria in 2018. The When in Need (WIN) Foundation, which says it “works to empower less privileged and under-resourced communities in rural and urban settings around the world,” is an organization with an active branch in Queens. Those who are prominent in WIN are mainly from Africa, principally Nigeria. While their work appears at first to be concentrated on that continent and in that nation, a further look shows that WIN is also making its mission known in South America and even the United States. Its four main points of activity are: food and agriculture; clean sources of water; health care; and education. Perhaps its greatest emphasis is on health care, since above all it is dedicated to the stemming, indeed the elimination, of malaria.

This organization also has consideration for its American surroundings. To economically disadvantaged high school girls in Philadelphia and Queens there is a giveaway each spring of prom gowns, 300 in all, so they might wear them to their school proms.  In Corona, WIN has partnered with Dominicans to conduct summertime entertainment for schoolchildren and a back-to-school jamboree with backpacks for the young students. In Forest Hills, it has conducted healthcare outreach, featuring counseling for teen mothers. Educational scholarships have also been awarded to those in need of them, such as one for $1,000 to Veshmer Kumar, a high school girl in Ozone Park.  Showing its cooperative spirit as an organization, WIN is a member of the Queens Chamber of Commerce.

Such activity in Nigeria and Queens attracted the attention of a borough politician, NYS New York State Senator James Sanders Jr. (c.) visited WIN in Nigeria in the spring of 2017 and was proclaimed an honorary chief by the four traditional kings flanking him.New York State Senator James Sanders Jr. (c.) visited WIN in Nigeria in the spring of 2017 and was proclaimed an honorary chief by the four traditional kings flanking him.Senator James Sanders Jr., who went to Nigeria in the spring of 2017, spending two weeks seeing the work When in Need addressed to improving conditions.  His visit was capped by a ceremony where he was made an honorary chieftain by four traditional kings.

WIN was founded by a Nigerian woman, Chetachi Nwoga-Ecton, who, because of personal circumstances, had to work to earn a living for herself and three children (two daughters and a son) as a single mother in a foreign land.

On her own, but responsible for three kids, Nwoga-Ecton sometimes had to work several jobs per day.  She sold clothing on the streets of Philadelphia, was a social worker and started a social service agency and health care adjunct. Then she started WIN, with money she had earned and invested, and by networking.  She said she formed WIN “to provide a hand to the most vulnerable and underserved people in the world—most specifically, orphans, those in extreme poverty in my native land of Nigeria and…here in the United States, Philadelphia and New York.” In the midst of all that, she earned a bachelor of science degree from Widener University, Chester, PA.

George Onuorah, director of media at When In Need Foundation, a Queens resident and formerly a Community Board 4 member for several years, also came from Nigeria to the US in pursuit of higher education. He is a native of the region in southeastern Nigeria known as Biafra, where Onuorah had a Roman Catholic boyhood and was an altar boy and a Boy Scout.

Like Nwoga-Ecton he came to the United States for higher education. He first met Nwoga-Ecton at a United Nations meeting in New York and, having listened to what she had to say, was immediately drawn to WIN.

Dr. George Onuorah, WIN’s director of media, addresses Nigerian media when on business there in 2016.Dr. George Onuorah, WIN’s director of media, addresses Nigerian media when on business there in 2016.Mission of Mercy, or MOM is WIN’s global outreach program. WIN and MOM are associated with 17 orphanages in seven countries and territories where more than 1,600 orphans have been aided in the past four years.  Those countries and territories are Nigeria, Argentina, Chile, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands and, of course, the United States.

This necessarily brief account of an American-based organization with Nigerian roots can’t be concluded without a review of its great drive to fight and, ideally bring down, malaria, a disease that has plagued humankind for millennia. When in Need Foundation pledges to be in pursuit of it and also many other terrible afflictions (Ebola virus, cholera, diabetes, etc.). Otherwise it will be building schoolhouses, digging wells, conducting medical screenings and treatment, supplying orphanages with food and other necessities—anything that could alleviate difficult conditions for those who face all too many.

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