Not all heroes wear caps, most of them are saving lives in their own little way. One of these knights in shining armor is James Okina who in his desire to help homeless kids founded The Non-profit Street Priests, a foundation aimed at empowering and supporting kids to achieve their purposes.
Three years ago, 15 years old Okina crossed paths with a 13 years old homeless kid on the streets of calabar who danced in bars to earn stipends for his upkeep.
Out of admiration for his friend who obviously spoke good English and had good mannerisms despite his homeless status, the compulsion to help other kids with no homes was born.
He started by using his own allowance and then got a job at La’shakara wears and branding to keep up with his self appointed task.
As the number of kids grew, he decided to find jobs for these kids as cleaners and janitors in various offices and schools, pooling together the money earned to pay for their school fees and other necessities.
After months of trying to help these kids, Okina founded The Street Priests in August 2015, a non-profit organisation aimed at tackling the problems of street kids in Calabar.
“we are priests and our church is the streets, we have a calling, like typical priests to reach out to childrens on the streets” he said.
Formerly with just a small place offered to them by the Christ embassy church, the foundation has since grown and is run by 7 volunteers, strongly supported by several charities and fund raising concerts held in Calabar.
Okina has received several honors for his work. In 2015, he bagged the Future Africa’s Leaders award organised by pastor Oyakhilome, was named the 2017 global teen by Three Dot Dash, a global youth initiative, founded by New York based ‘We Are Family Foundation’.
Okina, now 18 is an undergraduate at the University of Calabar splitting his time between the program, part-time jobs and classes.
Well Done James Okinwa! We Appreciate You