Graduate of Medical and Laboratory Sciences, model and Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) 2018, 23-year-old Anita Ukah has shared her passion for street kids with Entertainer. Ukah, who was crowned Friday, September 21, in Bayelsa State opened up on her pet project which is geared towards empowering the less privileged kids.
The six-feet plus Queen said: "We are currently working with kids on the streets, especially those in slums and ghettos. We are talking about kids that have no education and also those who were in school for a while, but due to certain reasons couldn't continue their education.
"So, what we are trying to do is help them go back to school in a sustainable way so they don't have to drop out of school again. Whitney Houston once said 'I believe the children are our future in her classic, 'Greatest Love of All'. That song means a lot to me and I find it very inspiring because the kids are our future. If we fail to plan for them, then we have failed to plan for the future of our country. The need for such an intervention cannot be overemphasized.
"I want this project to run during my reign and beyond. That is why I'm determined to make sure it works out. I want to pick as much kids as possible off the streets and get them back to school."
How does the ex-Miss Igbinedion University hope to source funds for the project which is capital intensive: "We are currently sending out sponsorship letters. There's a lot of work to be done, but right now we don't have sponsors."
Without sponsors, how does this indigene of Imo State hope to achieve her objectives? "We can always start with what we have," she says with emphasis. "For instance, we could start with just 10 kids and when we get more funding we raise the number rather than just wait until we have funds to sponsor as much as 100 kids. Like the Chinese say 'the journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step.' Another popular saying has it that 'Little drops make a mighty ocean.' Hence I believe that we can start small; it's not a must that it should be elaborate initially. As long as we are making impact no matter how small, we'll keep moving forward and the vision will keep growing bigger."
Though Ukah was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she insists her childhood was comfortable as her parents went out of their way to provide for her and her siblings, She reveals that she's from a close-knit family of seven siblings and was raised with a lot of love, attention and affection. And right from a tender age she has always dreamed of being a queen.
And on Friday, September 21 in Bayelsa State, her dream came true when she was crowned MBGN 2018. How does she feel? "It's been amazing, it's a whole new world and a different lifestyle. My life has changed tremendously and it's a wonderful platform that's been offered to me so I'm praying to use it as best as I can."
Now that she's famous, what's going to change about her? "What's going to change about me?" Ukah asks rhetorically. "Now I'm going to be able to reach out to more people, I'm going to be able to touch more lives. With the platform I've been given, I have the ability to reach out to millions and I intend to do just that."
She is grateful to her parents who were supportive. Little wonder she's dedicating her crown to them. She says: "I had so much support from even people I've never even met. While I was in camp they had a lot of encouraging words for me, it was amazing! My parents were very supportive. However, mum was much more supportive and was always fussing over me. She was always asking have you gotten everything ready? Have you done this? Have you don't that?"
With her victory, Ukah is poised to represent Nigeria at the 68th edition of Miss World 2018 Pageant holding in December 8 in Sanya, China.