Maria Africa Newsletter – Spring 2024

Dear Friends and Supporters of Maria Africa,

We have so much to be grateful for in our lives. The gifts of life, family, and friends are
tremendous blessings. Please know that your gifts of time, talent and treasure are such a comfort
to me and to my people in Nigeria. I sincerely express my gratitude and will always remain
grateful for your support and generosity.

I am writing today to update you on the amazing progress of Maria Africa Foundation, thanks to
your prayers and support. As you know, my transition to a leadership role at the Church of the
Resurrection in Tempe was a big change, both for me and the foundation. But I trust God’s
plan.The parish is a small church of about 900 families in a beautiful community. It is a good
place to start as a pastor in the Diocese of Phoenix.

We started Maria Africa Foundation at St. Bernard of Clairvaux Catholic Church in 2021 with
three board members and one volunteer. Since then, we have grown to five board members and
more than 20 committed volunteers working on behalf of the children and families in the
community of Ihitte-Uboma in Nigeria, my hometown. Our mission is to provide education, food,
and healthcare assistance this hard-working but impoverished community of people.

Creating awareness for Maria Africa Foundation both within and outside our parish community
has been journey. I am indeed happy to share the tremendous support that we have received
from the St. Bernard of Clairvaux community. I owe a great debt to the generous individuals and
families who devoted their time, talent, and treasure to the mission and vision of Maria Africa

Your Donations at Work on the Ground

Maria Africa Foundation works directly with a charitable organization on the ground in Nigeria called the AveMaria Humanitarian Foundation. I personally founded AveMaria to effectively
managing our funds, oversee our activities and ensure that your dollars reach those directly in need.
All funds are deposited into a corporate account managed by volunteers, personally appointed by
me. These include a certified accountant, project supervisor, and my close relative, Rev. Fr. Kenneth
Osuchukwu, who works personally with our families.

In 2021 we raised $6,700

In 2022 we raised $110,000

In 2023 we raised $456,000 with 27 people donating monthly, two donating quarterly, four donating
annually, and eight who have spiritually adopted a child to support their long-term education.

These dollars came to us via individual donations (monthly, quarterly, annually, and one-time gifts)
by donors who are introduced to us primarily via small, in-home events hosted by our supporters.

How Your Dollars Support our Children

Your dollars are critical to breaking the chain of lifelong poverty. They do that by providing education that leads not only to jobs, but to self-esteem, confidence, and productive careers. Specifically, your dollars support primary and secondary education (K-12), as well as trade school, and some college and university education. Your donations cover tuition, room and board, school supplies, extra curriculum activities, transportation, and field trips. And we often pay for clothing, food, and medicine since so many of our children cannot afford these basics.

Looking back to when I started the foundation in 2021, I am amazed at how far we have come in such a short time. Your monthly, quarterly, and annual donations to the organization have made a remarkable difference in the lives of the kids, families, and the communities we serve. The people of my hometown could not be more grateful to you.

This year, we had eleven students who graduated from high school and two students who graduated from trade school.

Additionally, we had one student who graduated from the school of nursing who is now a registered nurse in Nigeria. I am happy to say congratulations to Elizabeth for being the first MAF student to graduate and become an RN. Elizabeth said that she is looking forward to giving back to her community.

And perhaps most importantly, we had twenty NEW students who were added to our existing roster.  We could not be more excited for their futures.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we currently sponsor 52 children in K-12, 6 students in trade school, 3 students in college, in addition to 2 seminarians that we will be supporting starting from next year, 2024.  

Food, Nutrition, Shelter and Clothing

In 2023, we significantly increased the number of
families and communities that we could feed, not only
providing life-sustaining rice, but also nutritional foods
and proteins. Additionally, we provided medicine,
shelter, and clothing.

During Easter Week of 2023, nearly 900 families from three separate communities were nourished. We also distributed food at several schools in rural communities where children often go hungry and thirsty as, sadly, no food or water is provided. These children look forward to our bi-weekly and monthly visits to feed them. Our goal is to provide nutrition daily, so they can concentrate and learn. This is a goal we hope to reach very soon with your continued support.                                                       

We have plans to do more this Christmas. We will feed more families and provide clothing, toys and shoes for children. There are so many other children and families who need our support that we have not reached with our limited resources. But please know that these families, children, and communities are praying for you, and they sincerely appreciate your love support.

By the Numbers – Here’s How Your Dollars Were Spent on Our Families
2023 Summary

  • Education: $76,000
  • School Construction $12,000
  • Food/nutrition: $31,000
  • Medicine: $2,000
  • Transportation and handling of supplies: $5,000
  • Donation to Holy Ghost Catholic Church Ihitte-Uboma: $6,000
  • Bank charges for wire: $400

Total: $132,400

A Miracle in 2023 – Planting the Seeds for a School in Ihitte-Uboma

I am excited to share with you a miracle that I received this year.  

One of our goals has always been to build a model Catholic school in Ihitte-Uboma to give the children access to a better education in a good learning environment.

When I went on a pilgrimage to Italy this year with members of the Padre Pio, I prayed for the sick, and I prayed for a school for my hometown. Within weeks of returning from the pilgrimage, I had the most exciting news! A family at St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Scottsdale – the Lipari family – offered to help build my school for the children in Ihitte-Uboma!  They would make a significant donation and get others to help as well.  It seemed like a dream, but I know it is a miracle…the miracle of God working through others. The Lipari’s are a special blessing in my life, and in the lives of the children this school will serve.

We already have the land, the plan, drawings, and the building contractor to start the project. The estimated cost is about $450,000 including the infrastructure. The Lipari family has raised $270,000 through a small group event in their house. God is so good!

We are looking forward to raising $180,00 more to start the project next year and up to $200,000 by 2024 so that we can do even more. Please pray about this opportunity to help bring Catholic education closer to the children of Ihitte-Uboma.  

How you can help

  • Introduce us to any family or corporate foundation that supports small charities.
  • Consider increasing your monthly, quarterly, or annual donation.
  • Ask your employer if they have a Matching Donation program, and if it could include the Maria Africa Foundation.
  • Host an informational dinner with your family/friends and invite Fr. Simon to come and share the mission and vision of the Maria Africa Foundation. 
  • Consider donating a gift of stock shares.
  • Share the great work of Maria Africa Foundation with your family and friends and ask them to consider supporting us.

I continue to be grateful to you…for your prayers, your friendship, your support and your incredible generosity. At the holidays and always, may The Lord Jesus Christ grant His blessings on you and your families.

Most Sincerely,

Fr. Simon Osuchukwu
President, Maria Africa Foundation.

MAF is a 501c3 non-profit. What makes us unique is our partnership with the Avemaria Humanitarian Foundation, which has people working directly on the ground to monitor our projects and oversee the distribution of funds, supplies and services so that all donations go directly to schools, hospitals and humanitarian programs. All board members are volunteers.

© 2024 Maria Africa Foundation
7033 E Greenway Parkway, Suite 155
Scottsdale, Az 85254

(480) 658-9280