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  In 1981, an overseas mission beckoned Nkechi Rosalind Colwill, a young nurse with a passion for service. Her destination was the Uzuakoli Leprosy Centre in Nigeria, where she embarked on a mission that would leave an indelible mark on countless lives.
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Arriving in Uzuakoli, Abia State, she witnessed a lackadaisical attitude towards mental health and the plight of mentally challenged individuals roaming the streets. This ignited a fire within her to make a difference. With the backing of the Methodist Church Nigeria, she established the first centre in 1990 on land donated by local villages in Itumbauzo, Abia State. This initiative traversed Abia State, rescuing and admitting those in need. Her selfless dedication provided medical care, skill acquisition, and rehabilitation, leading to the reintegration of some into society. Leaving the comfort of her home in the United Kingdom, Nkechi Rosalind Colwill dedicated her entire life to serving the most deprived in forgotten corners of her homeland. Despite her British citizenship, she identified strongly as Nigerian, immersing herself in the culture and even speaking fluent Igbo.
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When Rosalind joined the Uzuakoli Leprosy Centre, Sir H.U. Osoka, the Methodist Conference Lay President, was truly relieved and named her Nkechinyere (Nkechi for short) – meaning a Gift of God. Unfortunately, Nkechi faced adversity when a massive stroke left her partially paralyzed, compelling her to return to the United Kingdom due to the inadequate state of healthcare in Nigeria. Despite this, her dedication to the Nigerian people remained unwavering. In a country where national honours are often awarded to undeserving individuals, Nkechi’s name might not be readily remembered. In a state where selective amnesia among the political class prevails, she may not be deemed fit for traditional honours. Yet, her service to an often ungrateful people stands as a testament to her saintly character.
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We express gratitude to Nkechi for her invaluable service, recognizing that her rare breed of compassion makes her a beacon of hope. When the roll is called, she is sure to be counted among the Righteous Among the Nations.
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This article was first published on 10th January 2024


I am a poet. I am a moderate thinker who abhors radicalism on every front and believes that most things are relative. I am a social and political critic. I love writing, reading and international politics.

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