- Category: Diaspora
- Published on Sunday, 12 June 2011 14:14
- Written by Admin
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Two Nigerians were appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s 2011 birthday honours List for their contributions to the British society. The list, released over the weekend is a well-worn ritual of the British monarch's power.
Ms Modupe Debbie Ariyo, the founder and executive director of Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (AFRUCA) was honoured for her services to children and families while John Uzoma Ekwugha Amaechi, a retired American-born basketball player was recognised for his contributions to sport and voluntary Sectors.
The award coincides with AFRUCA’s week of celebration as the international Organisation this week marls its 10th year anniversary.
Ms Modupe Debbie Ariyo.
Debbie is Founder and Executive Director of AFRUCA - Africans Unite Against Child Abuse. She is the founder of AFRUCA Foundation for the Protection of the Rights of Vulnerable Children, a new Children's NGO in Nigeria. She holds a Masters degree in Urban Policy from the University of North London and a Bachelors in French and Education from University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.
As a child rights campaigner, Debbie has been very vocal and visible in highlighting issues affecting the safeguarding of African children in the UK. She has helped to develop AFRUCA's work programmes on the promotion and protection of African children. She works with and advises UK agencies and international bodies to help improve service provision to black and minority ethnic children.
Debbie is a Fellow of the School for Social Enterpreneurs. She has received many awards and commendation for her work including the Gathering of Africa's Best Award for her contributions to the positive image of the UK African community through her work at AFRUCA. She won the best Female Social Entrepreneur Award by Precious Awards for Women. She was also awarded the Excellence in Humanitarian Work Award by the Nigerian International Professional Network for her work with African children.
John Uzoma Ekwugha Amaechi
The son of an Igbo father, Amaechi was born in the USA but raised in England by his English mother.
He later moved to the United States to play high school basketball. He began playing college basketball at Vanderbilt but transferred to Penn State, where he was a two-time First Team Academic All-American selection. While at Penn State, Amaechi became a motivational public speaker and a mentor for area youth.
The 6 ft 10 center was signed undrafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1995. He then played for two years in Europe (France: Cholet, Limoges; Italy: Kinder Bologna; Greece: Panathinaikos; UK: Sheffield Sharks).
He returned to the USA, signing with the Orlando Magic in 1999. He gained fame for scoring the NBA's first points in the year 2000.
Amaechi represented England during the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, helping the England national basketball team win the bronze medal.
Amaechi, an openly gay is now a broadcaster, consultant and academic. His 'Amaechi Performance Systems' is a consultancy working with numerous bluechip brands to improve leadership and communication skills and organisational diversity.
Amaechi is also involved with the ABC Foundation in Manchester, which encourages children to become involved in sports and their communities by building youth sports centers throughout the United Kingdom. The first such facility, the Amaechi Basketball Centre, was built in Manchester, not far from Amaechi's childhood home of Stockport.
In a radio interview, Amaechi said that he is returning to school to get a Ph.D. in psychology. "I want to do something more meaningful in my life," he said. Amaechi also explained why he played for Orlando in 2000 for much less than the $17 million offered to him by the Lakers; his answer was that Orlando had hired him in 1999 when no other team would.
John Amaechi was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science by Manchester Metropolitan University on July 19, 2007 in recognition of his achievements not only as an athlete and broadcaster, but also for his charitable work with the National Literacy Trust, the NSPCC and the establishment of the ABC Foundation to encourage children to become involved in sport and their community.