Michael Odokara-Okigbo with a young friend in India

The mission of the Mugadi Foundation is to help children and young adults around the world.  We do this by supporting education and improving living conditions for poor or challenged children in developing nations; assisting orphans, foster children, and adoptees; and promoting and celebrating diversity.

Michael Odokara-Okigbo founded The Mugadi Foundation when he was fourteen. Mugadi (which means ‘I will live’ in the Igbo language) is an organization pending 501(c) 3 status that was created in 2004 to help pay for the school fees granted to orphanages located in Lagos, Nigeria. The foundation was established due to a trip he made with his mother to an HIV/AIDS orphanage in November 2004.

Odokara-Okigbo was shocked by their situations, but mostly, he was surprised to see how similar these children were to him. They loved to laugh, play with friends, and just be kids. When he returned to the US, Michael wanted to show his peers what he had learned. He created a photo exhibition of fourteen stories, and showed it in hospitals, schools and museums. It was a huge success, and prompted him to create the Mugadi Foundation.

Since its inception, The Mugadi Foundation has helped over two-hundred students in Nigeria pay for their school fees, books, and clothes. In 2010, Mugadi started collaborating with CUP International, located in Hosur, India, and raised money for children in need in southern India.  It also celebrates diversity by supporting the Greater Portland (Maine) Festival of Nations.