Bridging the Wealth Gap One Project at a Time

  • By Jamila Johnson

Amarachukwu Uche-Anya is busy. Whether she is running her non-profit, pursuing her consulting career or serving as a co-chair for the BRIDGE (Build Relationships in Diverse Group Experiences) program at Drexel LeBow, Uche-Anya has never been willing to settle for the status quo.

Like many overachievers, the senior triple major in finance, management information systems and business analytics had a desire to make an impact from an early age. Growing up in Nigeria, Uche-Anya noticed the drastic economic disparity and knew she wanted to make a difference.

Never one to sit back and do nothing, Uche-Anya decided to provide food to local orphanages with her mom every year, but even then, that wasn’t enough. “I told myself, ‘I can’t keep doing this,’” says Uche-Anya. “I thought there had to be a way to help that would last.”

Despite the frequency that larger service organizations would provide food and emergency items, Uche-Anya noticed that the supplies would only last for a few months. She felt there must be a way to empower communities from the inside to help them thrive and provide for themselves.

After one of her trips back home in January 2017, Uche-Anya and her friend, Nicole Njoku, began the non-profit S.O.W Africa. The organization, whose mission is, “Creating a sustainable continent, from community to country,” has grown from a team of two to seven in roughly a year. “The growth has been phenomenal,” says Uche-Anya. “They’re very dedicated members who make sure we’re working in line with the mission.”

Uche-Anya and her team made a commitment that they would serve the communities they selected with lasting support in ways the community members requested, which she says differentiates her non-profit. “Sometimes we might want to do something, or think we know what to do, but it won’t be in line with what the community needs. So we always want to make sure we’re putting the community first,” she says.

Using focus groups and members of the community to assess weak points, members of S.O.W Africa successfully launched #ProjectProtein, an initiative that provided workshops on maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a licensed dietician, provided a variety of nutritious foods, and helped six workshop participants grow and sustain their local businesses.

And even with this success, Uche-Anya’s plans don’t stop there. In addition to expanding S.O.W Africa’s work to East Africa, and eventually any community they can reach, Uche-Anya will begin working at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), where she recently completed her third co-op, while also running her own catering business on weekends. “I’m very passionate about international development,” says Uche-Anya. “I want to make sure I’m giving back to my community.”

But for someone with so many projects and goals, her current focus remains simple: “Right now, my mind is on graduation.”

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