Founded in November, 2016, "The Mother of Mercy Charitable Foundation” or MMCF is a non-profit organization.
The Birth of MMCF
While earning his doctorate in Catholic educational leadership at University of San Francisco, Fr. Edward Inyanwachi, a native of Ebonyi State, Nigeria, served in a number of San Francisco parishes. During this time he met one of those parishoners, Angela Testani, then a nurse at University of California, San Francisco. With a shared commitment to helping others, a spiritual bond developed between priest and parishioner. When he returned to Nigeria, Fr. Edward invited Angela to visit his parish to see how her nursing experience and contacts in San Francisco could help the rural population he served in Ebonyi State. Angela first arrived in Nigeria with suitcases full of basic medical supplies and had previously sent pallets of books to Nigeria. Angela had also volunteered in New Orleans after Katrina and in Sudan. But it wasn't until she visited Fr. Edward that she felt like she could really make a difference in people's lives - the people in Nigeria. In 2016, Fr. Edward and Angela decided to ramp up their efforts to raise money by setting a $25,000 goal to ship 10,000 lbs of medical equipment and supplies to a hospital in Ebonyi State. In September 2016, after they had achieved their fundraising goal, people encouraged them to organize their own non-profit to continue with their mission. In November 2016, the Mother of Mercy Charitable Foundation was born and in March 2017, 15,000 lbs of much needed medical/surgical equipment/supplies (5,000 lbs over the original goal) were delivered by MMCF to the hospital. The origins of MMCF are detailed in a Catholic San Francisco newspaper feature article. For the full article read HERE.
Mission Statement for The Mother of Mercy Charitable Foundation
"Helping to provide for the Health Care, Educational and Humanitarian needs of the Nigerian people."
• Health Care Needs: In rural Nigeria, hospitals are considered a place where people go to die because most people cannot afford legitimate medical services and put off hospital visits until they are gravely ill. MMCF is working to improve access to hospital care by reducing the cost of medical services at rural hospitals like Mater Misericordiae, a mission hospital owned and managed by the Catholic Diocese of Abakaliki. The hospital serves the residents of Afikpo, Ebonyi State's second largest city and the surrounding area.
In collaboration with the non-profit organization, MedShare, MMCF shipped 15,000 lbs. of hospital supplies/equipment to Mater Misericordiae in 2017.
MMCF continues to supply the hospital much needed supplies, as well as easing the financial burden to families and individuals on a case-by-case need. Improved health care is critical especially for mothers and young children. In 2013 The Economist named Nigeria "the worst place for a baby to enter the world".
Through our “safe drinking water project” MMCF drilled two boreholes to access "safe" groundwater in one of the most densely populated villages in Ebonyi State, hoping to reduce diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation.
In 2019 MMCF installed solar panels to run the hospital's laboratory to dramatically reduce the operating costs of performing critical life saving diagnostics tests and procedures. Local hospitals like Mater Misericordiae are the front lines for combating epidemics like Ebola with its worldwide ramifications. Providing proper equipment and supplies will help contain any future outbreaks.
• Educational Needs: A 2015 UK study reported that 51% of children age 6-16 in Ebonyi State, Nigeria could not read as of 2010 and 32% did not attend school with higher truancy rates in rural areas. The same study indicated that although there is "free" compulsory education in Nigeria, schooling was not actually free because families still had to pay fees for things such as uniforms and supplies. Families have to pay for books, writing materials and even the paper to take exams. In 2016 Ebonyi State handed over administration of much of its public schools that serve the poor to the Catholic Church. Fr. Edward has been appointed the director of education for the vast Diocese of Abakaliki which at 2, 298 square miles is larger than Ebonyi State and the U.S. states of Rhode Island and Delaware. As a result of the 2016 hand over he is tasked with overseeing the educational welfare of children regardless of their faith affiliation.
MMCF assists in the support of a 926 all boys vocational, boarding school in the village of Afikpo, Ebonyi State. In 2018 MMCF provided funding to help rebuild a school dormitory at Ehugbo Technical College, a junior and senior high school in Afikpo, as well as providing books and class room supplies to various schools. Currently, MMCF's assistance is helping to rebuild a dormitory at Mater Misericordiae Nursing School.
MMCF also provides scholarships to attend Ehugbo Technical College and Mater Misericordiae Nursing School. Your donation in the amount of only US$ 75 will cover expenses for one student to attend Ehugbo Technical College for one year. Your donation of US $826 would pay for one student to attend nursing school for one year.
Angela Testani gives a tour of an all-boys vocational, boarding school in Afikpo
• Humanitarian Needs: A 2017 study by a research center at the University of Oxford indicated over 58 million people in Nigeria are destitute. 68.0 percent and 84.5 percent of the Nigerian population lived below US $1.25 per day and $2 per day. Ebonyi State with its predominantly agricultural economy is among the poorest in Nigeria. In 2012 a study by the Nigerian Journal of Agriculture, Food and Environment observed 90% of Ebonyi's rural population or roughly 1.6 million lived in abject poverty. That study indicated rural families consumed only 10% of the quantity and quality of their minimum required diets despite the observation that those families spent 77% of their income on food. Hunger is the norm in Ebonyi State. As Angela Testani observed during one of her visits, a family of five would share one yam as their entire meal.
In 2012 the International Journal of Health Policy and Management stated maternal and child health status in Nigeria is among the worst in Africa. In 2016 UNICEF urged Ebonyi State's community leaders to integrate child survival, protection and development in their community meetings and activities in order to begin efforts on working to save and improve the lives of children and women in Ebonyi State. MMCF supports families, aging adults, adults with disabilities and youth through social services and opportunities for healthy growth and development in the various parishes served by Fr. Inyanwachi.
During the current COVID 19 pandemic MMCF has begun distributing staples to the neediest families.
MMCF assisted Mrs. Alice Nwojiji after a fire in her home left her seriously injured, bedridden and forced her children to be sent to live elsewhere. Through MMCF's intervention, Mrs. Nwojiji completed her medical treatment, physicial therapy, rehabilitation and is regaining her mobility. She is now reunited with her children.
Highlight of Past and Future Projects
• 15,000 lbs Shipment of Medical Supplies in 2017
In March 2017, 15,000 lbs. of medical/surgical equipment/supplies were delivered by MMCF to Mater Misericordiae hospital in Afikpo and are still being used today. Mater Misericordiae selected the items they needed most from the inventory available to MedShare, another non profit which collects and sorts surplus medical supplies and equipment from US hospitals and manufacturers which would otherwise end up in US landfill.
The equipment and supplies included: two hospital beds; transformers for operating room lights and a laboratory refrigerator needed for diagnosing disease ; a hydraulic patient lift; IV poles; patient scales; blood pressure gauges; as well as bandages, catheters, syringes, surgical scissors , masks, gloves, gowns and other protective operating room gear needed to contain any future Ebola outbreak.
MMCF also shipped over 120 pairs of crutches. Orthopedic surgery including amputation of the lower extremities is the number one surgery performed at Mater Misericordiae Hospital due in part to the prevalence of diabetes arising from the high carbohydrate diet of primarily or exclusively yams. Patients' delay in seeking treatment contribute to the extreme result of losing a limb. But the hospital also selected to receive 18 Personal Energy Transportation carts ("P.E.T. carts"), essentially large tricycles powered by pedaling with arms rather than legs. These P.E.T. carts provide a viable means of transport over Ebonyi State's dirt roads for those who can no longer walk the miles necessary to sustain a living.
• Installation of Solar Panels to power Laboratory at Mater Misericordiae Hospital, July 2019
In July 2019, MMCF completed the installation of solar panels to power the laboratory at Mater Misericordiae Hospital. The laboratory was targeted because of the very important need to diagnose illness correctly. In 2014 ebola in Nigeria was contained due to proper diagnosis and then quarantine of the outbreak. However, as Fr. Edward explains, one of the major health challenges in Nigeria today is misdiagnosis of illnesses.
Because the solar panels provide a constant and economical power source for the laboratory, the hospital has been able to more quickly diagnose illness. The hospital has also been able to redirect the savings from its operating expenses (specifically, the exorbitant cost of diesel fuel to operate the laboratory's power generator) to other much needed efforts in its mission to improve the healthcare for the rural poor of Ebonyi State.
• Delivery of a Reliable Source of Safe Drinking Water to Village in Ebonyi State in 2020
Nigeria's water infrastructure is suffering from severe neglect. Rural areas in particular face a decline in services. In urban areas people are forced to buy water from private vendors which most cannot afford. In Nigeria, almost 60,000 children, under the age of 5 yrs. old, die per year from diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation.
At the very outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria in April 2020 MMCF began construction of a borehole well which reaches a depth of over 300 feet. From MMCF's general funds and the personal fundraising efforts of a retired Peace Core volunteer, Mr. Richard Morten, MMCF completed construction of the well and a storage structure to house the necessary equipment and storage tanks at a cost of about U.S. $8,500.
• Textbooks for schools in Akabaliki Diocese
MMCF is beginning an effort to obtain textbooks which would be otherwise discarded by schools in the United States. The books will then be shipped for distribution to schools in the 2, 298 square mile Akabaliki Diocese where the students marvel at books and are eager to read them. We welcome your support to realize this goal so we can ship old textbooks to a corner of the world where they will still be used.
A Glimpse of Ebonyi State, Nigeria and the people served by MMCF
This eight minute video is compiled from footage and stills taken during a visit by MMCF co founder Angela Testani to see MMCF president and co founder, Fr. Edward Inyanwachi in Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
The video begins in Nigeria with the road to Abakaliki, Ebonyi State's capitol, and driving through the streets of the capitol. The first two stills show a yam hut which is used for storage of this tuber, the primary and often only source of food for the rural poor of Ebonyi State, followed by stills of Fr. Edward and the local children.
The next video footage depicts mass at Fr. Edward's parish of St Patrick's where parishioners dressed in their "Sunday Best" walk miles on dirt roads to attend the two and a half hour Sunday mass combining Catholic and native traditions.
Other stills include: photos of Maureen, the local mother making jewelry and accessories from beads to help support her family, and her merchandise; Father Edward distributing toothbrushes to children at night by flashlight from his phone; Angela with local women; an exterior shot of a photo of the nursing school at Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Afikpo, Ebonyi State's second largest city; photos of a local makeshift pharmacy at Holy Cross Hospital annex and photos of patients in the Mater Misrecordiae Hospital for which MMCF is providing solar panels.
MMCF Board of Directors and Officers
Like the board members of most charitable organizations, MMCF's board members are volunteers who receive no remuneration or monetary compensation for their services.
More About Our Board.
More About Our Board.