GENESIS OF ONE HOPE
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Founder and president
Fr. Felix Ugwuozor was born towards the end of the Nigerian Civil War which, for more than half a century, deeply impacted the political, social and economic paths of the Nigerian nation State.
Fr. Felix writes: “I was too young to remember the last stages of this war, but I do recall the aftermath. These early childhood experiences were the impetus for my present anti-poverty campaign.
When I was about three, I repeatedly asked my father why he had to leave early every morning and return very late each evening to the village where we had moved because of the Nigerian civil war. My father went back to work at the coalmines in 1972, when the mines reopened after the war. Each day he commuted about 24km (14 miles) via public transportation from our village to the coalmines in the creek-valley city of Enugu known as the Coal City, the capital city of the state. He had worked in the mines for more than 25 years prior to the civil war, and spent the two years during the war toiling in the farms at home to provide for his family, his unmarried niece, and the family of his sick nephew. A few years after he went back to working in the mines, my father was diagnosed with pneumoconiosis (black lung) disease, most likely as a result of his exposure to the harmful elements in the coal dust.
My father was the only Catholic Christian in our entire village of Amachalla. I guess he must have been influenced by his contact with the early Christian missionaries who were allies of the British mining engineers. One thing I admired most about my father was his genuine Christian spirit. A man of great integrity, he was deeply committed to fairness, justice and peace. My father exuded calm, self-confidence and brought understated elegance to everything he did with others. Even those who did not welcome his religious persuasion or his Christian lifestyle had to admit that his motives and actions were sincere. He was never fearful about speaking his mind and telling the truth.
His sincerity and frankness endeared him to many, including a visiting team of Cistercian monks who eventually located their monastery in my hometown, Awhum in 1974. The Cistercian monks not only became friendly with my father, their community became close to my entire family. Those relationships influenced – in part – my entrance to the priesthood. However, the bigger influence was my cousin, Msgr. Anthony Aso, whose love for the church and his priesthood remains unmatched by anyone I have ever known.
I spent more time with my father during his illness than the rest of my siblings. Although he was inactive most of my childhood, he made sure we often had morning and night prayers together, particularly the Rosary. He also made certain that I attended morning mass every day at the monastery, and that I focused on my schoolwork. With him being sick and bedridden, the burden of raising six children became the sole responsibility of my mother, who had been a full-time, stay-at-home mom when my father worked in the coalmines. As my father received only a very meager pension salary, things were tough for our family. At the age of ten, while in my fourth grade of school, my father died of complications from the black lung disease, and my family’s situation became more precarious, with six children to feed, clothe and provide tuition and other expenses. Although my mother did not finish primary school, she was as brilliant as my father, and both of them deeply valued education and wanted all of their six children to get a good education. While their hope was, at best, dimly sustained, it never died. My mother was forced to undertake a multitude of menial jobs and businesses to meet our family’s increasing financial obligations of food, shelter, housekeeping and tuitions. Often, despite great sacrifice, my mother didn’t have the means to pay my tuition after paying for that of my three siblings. As a consequence, I had to stay at home at the beginning of every school year so my mother could recoup and work for few more weeks to afford my tuition fees.
While those experiences were not pleasant, I recounted them repeatedly during my formative years in the seminary, and drew solace through an unfaltering reflection of my mother’s sustained and incredible hope. I believe it was this hope that prodded her, “despite all evidence to the contrary,” that her painful struggle – the cost of working more than two jobs at minimal wages to keep her children in school – promised her and all of us a brighter future.
Reflecting on my parents’ hope in the midst of overwhelming difficulties – the abiding hope they kept in their hearts that somehow, someday, their pain and their sacrifices would pay off – set the stage for the initial idea of what came to be known as OneHopechildren, Inc.
Fr. Felix Ugwuozor’s Timeline
Aug., 1995: Ordained a Catholic Priest
1995 – 1999: Served as the Registrar, Institute of Ecumenical Education, now, Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu
1999: Moved to United of America for further Studies
2001 – 2004: Served as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Graduate School of Montclair State University, New Jersey
2005: Served as a Doctoral Assistant to Matthew Lipman in the Faculty of Education at Montclair State University, New Jersey
2005: Began teaching full time in the Faculty of Education at Montclair State University, New Jersey, teaching Philosophical Foundation in Education, till 2015
2005: Began an Adjunct teaching position at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, New Jersey Teaching Philosophy and Development of Culture, Career and Life, till date – summer teaching July & August.
2009: Began an Adjunct teaching position at Jesuit University of New Jersey teaching Philosophy and Public Policy, till 2015
2009: Graduated with a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education and Pedagogy from Montclair State University.
2015: Moved back to Nigeria and joined Faculty of Education, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) teaching undergraduate: Philosophy of Education, and Postgraduate: Philosophy of Mind, Contemporary Philosophies of Education and Logic & Teaching till date
2015: Serving as Lecturer, Director of Postgraduate Program and Deputy Provost at Peaceland College of Education, Enugu, Nigeria
B. Pastoral Apostolate
Besides academia, Fr. Felix has also been involved in various pastoral assignments
2001 – 2004: Served as the Director of Pastoral Care at Orange Memorial Hospital Orange, New Jersey, under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ
2004 – 2009: Served as a Parochial Vicar for the Parish of the Resurrection, Jersey City in the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ
2011 – 2014: Weekend assistant at St. Andrew Parish (Bayonne, NJ) and St. Joseph and St. Anne, Jersey City, NJ in the Archdiocese of Newark
2015 – 2018: Summer Parochial Vicar: Saint Elizabeth, Wyckoff, NJ
2018 – 2020: Summer Parochial Vicar: Nativity Parish, Midland Park, NJ
2021 – 2021: Summer Parochial Vicar: Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Ridgewood
2017 – 2020: Pastoral Attachment: Rosa Mystical Parish, Independence Layout, Enugu
2020 – 2021: Pastoral Attachment: Blessed Sacrament Parish, Independence Layout, Enugu
C. Research/Creative Output
Fr. Felix has broad research interests and has published works in Philosophy, Education, Ethics, Psychology, Humanities, Social, Political and Environmental issues. He has also more than two decades of academic leadership experience serving institutions of higher education across the US, Europe and Africa. His publications include:
1991: A Critique of Karl Marx Dialectical Materialism, Snap Press
1995: Atheism: A sin Against Faith, Theological Analysis and implications of the Modern and Contemporary Attitude Towards (the super-sensible realm) God, Snap Press
2001: The Human Self in the Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, University Press, New Jersey
2009: Democratic Education in Nigeria: Context and Imperatives, University Press
2011: Co-edited a book on Philosophical Foundation of Education: Classical, Modern and Contemporary ideas of Education, EI ‘Demark Press
2016: Education for Democratic Growth in Nigeria IN Prognostic Analysis on Theology Education Ethics and Development, Edited Okolo, J.C. Cidjap Press P. 120-13
2021: Democratic Education: Theory, Issues and Practice in Nigeria, Mekanand Pub.
2013: Evaluating Religious Education in Nigeria Catholic Schools in European Journal of Scientific Research. Vol. 106 Issue 2.
2013: Development Curriculum Climate Change in Nigeria. Implication for gender and development – published in American Journal of Scientific Research, AJSR.
2014: Education and Development Disconnect in Nigeria: Education for Sustainable Development as the 21st Century imperative for Nigeria National Transformation, sustainable Development and Global competitiveness in Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development.
2015: Unemployment crisis in Nigeria: An invitation to visit the Country’s Vocational Education.
2016: Effect of Cognitive Restructuring Counseling Technique and Critical Thinking on attitude Towards Okada Riders’ Drug abuse behaviour in Onitsha Urban, Anambra State.
2016: Probable Psychologized Impacts of Environmental Pollution (oil spills) in the coastal Area of the Niger Delta of Nigeria: A Philosophical Discourse
2016: Goal Setting: A Philosophical and Educational Discourse and Recommendation.
2016: Philosophy of Tabula Rasa Theory and Education of a Typical African Child
2016: Effect of a group focused cognitive Behavioral Health Education Program on Cigarette Smoking in a sample of Community Dwelling Smokers in Nigeria
2016: Examining the Non-Ethical Principle of Scientific Investigation Against the Leadership of Embryonic Stem Cell Controversy: A Philosophical, Psychological and Sociological Discourse, in European Journal of Scientific Research. Vol. 141, Issue 1, pp 25-35. http://www.europeanjournalofscientificresearch.com.
2016: Philosophical Education towards Democratization and Boko Haram Insurgency in Nigeria, IN Journal of International Education Studies. Vol.9, no.9 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ies.v9n9p87.
2017: Utilization of Religious and Philosophy Education in uplifting the image of prison inmates and Curtailing Ex-Prisoners Re division in Enugu Prison Yard in Nigeria.
2017: Towards Pedagogy Education for Leadership in Nigeria, Medwell Journals of International Business Management, Vol.11, no. 5.pp1007-1014 www.medwelljournals.
2019: Philosophical Education and Global Citizenship: Tapping into the process Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead in NZ J. Education Stud. 54, 179-194
2019: Effect of Exposure to Business Ethics Course on Students’ perceptions of the linkage between Ethics Education and Corporate Social Responsibility in Journal of Education for Business
2019: Developing a Personal Philosophy of Education: A Requisite Guide to Educational Practice in Nigeria. In Educational Research Quarterly, Vol, 42, Issue 3, pp. 2-28. March 2019
2019: Rousseau’s social contract as an archetype of education for political leadership in Nigeria. The Journal of Education Philosophy (NJEAP), Vol. 30 (2), 17-26
2020: Advancing ‘Nurturing Pedagogy paradigm’ for Democratic and Economic Growth in Nigeria. In Medwell Journal of Social Sciences. 15, 172-185
2020: Assessment of Whitehead Process Philosophy and Pedagogy in Nigeria: Implications for Global Citizenship Among Teachers and Students. In Open Journal of Philosophy Vol. 10 No. 3, 277-299. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2020.103019
2020: Teachers’ Demographic Variables as Predictors of Critical Thinking Skills of School Children: Implications for School Counseling. In Global Journal of Health Science
2020: Effect of the Constructivist Method on Junior Secondary School Students’ Achievement in Poetry: Implications for School Counseling in Nigeria. In Global Journal of Health Science
2020: Constructivism as a Pedagogical Framework and Poetry Learning Outcomes among Nigerian Students: An Experimental Study. In Cogent Education
2020: Students’ Perception of Corporate Social Responsibility: Analyzing the Influence of Gender, Academic Status, and Exposure to Business Ethics Education. In Business Ethics: A European Review. 2020; 00: 1–11. https:// doi.org/10.1111/beer.12306.
2021: Determinants of critical thinking of trainee teachers: A production function approach, March 2021 In Thinking Skills and Creativity.
2021: Critical Thinking Intervention for Stress Reduction among Undergraduates in the Nigerian Universities, In Medicine
2021: Assessment of Young People’s Motivation for Pursuit of Higher Degree in the Field of Education: Implications for Educational Philosophy and Teacher Policy in Nigeria, In Sage Open
D. Membership of Editorial Board
2019 – date Science Publishing group, a journal based in New York
2021 – date Nnadiebube Journal of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria
E. Article Reviewed.
2020: “Does Intelligence Matters in Teaching? Exploring the Impact of Teachers Intelligence on Teaching Pedagogies of Secondary School Science Teachers” for SAGE Open, Manuscript # ID SO-20-1884
2020: “From an important concept to a normal practice: corporate social responsibility education initiatives for non-practitioner students” for Emerald Open Res 2020, 2:17 Manuscript # (https://doi.org/10.21956/emeraldopenres.14452.r27114)
2020: “Output-driven Citizenship Education: Towards a Results-oriented Approach for Improving Citizenship Competences” for Studies in Educational Evaluation, Manuscript # SEE-D-20-00242
2021: Philosophy in Schools: Promoting Thinking and English Competence in Students” for Studies in Educational Evaluation, Manuscript # SEE-D-21-00422
F. Membership of Professional Bodies
2002– date Member, American Philosophy Association
2014– date Member, American Philosophy of Education Society
2018– date Member, Rotary Club International (9418596)
2004: Selected Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, Listed 1122.
2008: Selected Cambridge Who’s Who, Registry of Networking Directory for Executives, Academics and Professionals.
Founder, OneHopeChildren Foundation, a US based non-profit with 501 (c) 3
Over 100 children and young adults in OneHopeChildren’s Scholarship Poll
$50,000 Water Borehole project in Awhum, Enugu State, Nigeria
$50,000 Water Borehole project in Obukpa – Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria
J. New Project:
Establishing Self-Defence Clubs in Secondary and Primary Schools in Enugu State, Nigeria: An anti-rape and abuse Project.
Training Teachers on selected Skills for Knowledge Work in Enugu State, Nigeria