Few of us can fathom the possibility of making a difference in the lives of others without being stupendously wealthy ourselves. This is not even a shortcoming as most people honestly think it is only possible to attain such lofty goals when one already has riches sufficient to cover one’s needs and wants. Ukan Kurugh has rendered such thinking a fallacy. This is a man who has been able to make a huge difference in the lives of many who had themselves given up hope after being turned away by those they presumed had enough to share. While Ukan cannot be described as rich, he has creatively leveraged on his network of contacts to serve in a capacity to mobilise the funds required to make a difference to those who might have ordinarily been overlooked while putting his own needs on the back burner.
Today we profile a Benue son who, based on sheer passion, commitment and hard work, has been able to turn lives around.
Ques: Who is Ukan Kurugh
Ans: My name is Ukan Kurugh. My twin brother is Gaav John Kurugh. I am the fourth child in a family of six. My parents are Mr. Aker and Mrs. Priscilla Udoon Kurugh of Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State. I was educated at All Saints Nursery/Primary School Wuse-Abuja between 1989 and 1994; Government Secondary School Bwari-Abuja and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Benue State University Makurdi. I served at the Nigeria Export and Import (NEXIM) Bank for my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). I have since been involved with several humanitarian organisations as a volunteer. I think the new media and friends some of who we’ve only met through the new media platforms especially Facebook have greatly impacted me personally and in touching lives, especially those with critical needs.
Ques: What motivated you to go into charity work?
Ans: Thank you for the question. I cannot say with certainty whether or not I was born a humanitarian. However, something happened that I consider significant to what I am doing. While still in secondary school, I had cause to accompany my parents home to our village in Konshisha Local Government. While in the village, a sad incident that would ultimately become the stimulating factor in this service to humanity occurred. A relation of my father was hospitalised and died due to lack of funds. I also lost my best friend back then in school, Mimi Kar, who died of breast cancer.
These incidents motivated me to devote my life to humanity. It was also the reason why I started blogging. So, that was how it started and here we are today, with the help of friends and well wishers, through the social media platforms and by the Grace of God, we have been mobilising support for the less fortunate members of the society. We have also been providing support to those that are caught up by crisis and other natural disasters as well as attending to the aged and widows. This is my 8th year in full-time humanitarian works.
Ques: What kinds of cases do you take on?
Ans: We provide succour to people with various needs. I have paid school fees for students who could otherwise not do so; helped the needy with both food and non-food supplies as well as accommodation where need be. I have also done a lot in attending to the health needs of people, whose situation became known to me. I am humbled that God is using me this way. Basically, I do what I can to bridge the gap between needs and means. And by the Grace of God, humanity has shown that given the right information, life could be better.
Ques: What are the biggest challenges in your work?
Ans: My biggest challenge has been mobility; having the right car that will navigate our areas. Of course, part of the problem had been solved by one of my biggest sponsors Alex Adingi, it nevertheless remains one of my main challenges given that sometimes I have to transport goods to areas of need and it becomes a problem, in such circumstances. Situations also arise where one is unable to help because donors have not responded to one’s appeal to attend to people’s cases. In such instances, I am sometimes bombarded with calls as the intended beneficiaries begin to despair. It can be pretty challenging having to deal with feelings of inadequacy when these situations arise.
Ques: What is in it for you?
Ans: Putting smiles on the faces of the people.
Ques: Any mentors?
Ans: Yes. Charles Erukaa, one of Nigeria’s finest broadcasters with Channels Tv is one; there is also Nuhu Kwajafa, a humanitarian serving and saving lives across the country.
Ques: What are your future plans?
Ans: To touch more lives and be a source of inspiration to many a young man and woman out there. I want to protect my name and keep doing what I am known for. My organization will soon be launched formally. For now, I am thinking about how best to serve humanity, in the coming days. Already, I have intervened in cases in Jos, Kano, Kwara, Abuja, Lagos with most coming from Benue State; we won’t give up.
Ques: Any awards?
Yes. I have been recognised by several individuals, organisations and groups. Some of the awards are: Youth Mentorship Award for “Caught in the Act of Caring“ by the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, St. Francis Catholic Mission Daudu (2016); Award of Appreciation for contribution to the Advocacy for Women and Girl Child Development by Glamorous Mothers Development Initiative (2016); Humanitarian Award as Pillar of the Less Privilege by Ed Frank Modelling Agency Int’l (2017); Humanitarian of the Year by Benue Icon Recognition Awards (2017) and Recognition as Safety Ambassador by the Environment and Safety Management Institute (2017).
Other awards and recognition are: Award of Excellence in Humanitarian Service by Sta Icons Platform Nigeria in collaboration with Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism Makurdi (2017); Award for Charity and Humanitarian Works by Benue Youth Choice Awards (February 2018); Award of Charity and Humanitarian Works by the Middle Belt Heritage (May 2018); Award of Excellence in Investigative Journalism and Humanitarian Services by Ecstasy Group (June 2018) and Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award by Pacesetters Academy Ikpayongo, Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State (July 2018).
I also received the Humanitarian Service Award 2018 by the National secretariat of the Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU) and in November of the same year, I was presented with another Humanitarian Service Award by the Mdzough U Tiv (MUT), Lagos State chapter and capped the year with the Voice of the Voiceless award by the Daughters of Love Club Makurdi. I cannot remember all but these are some of the few and not forgetting the award presented to me by the Nigeria House of Dream Parliament and most recently, a law firm was named after me in recognition of my contribution to the young lawyer’s graduation from the Nigerian Law School.
Ques: Would you mind naming some of your beneficiaries?
Ans: Top on the list is Fanen Terhemen, Emmanuel Terfa Gbakaan, Dorathy Hembafan Terfa, Mondo Veronica, Mwuese Terver, Mama Lucy Akav, Dooshima Terwase, Doosughun Teryima, Owaye Francis Ajelofu, Michael Atsor, Terkula Msugh, Lucy Ngowua, thousands of IDPs among others have benefitted from my works.
Ques: Final words?
Ans: I give God the glory, that through friends, we are able to impact humanity in the way we are doing, all thanks to the new media. Let’s keep supporting one another; let’s use social media wisely and in such a way that would impact others positively.
The outstanding work of people like Ukan Kurugh can sometimes be taken for granted, yet while they might not heal the world, they do make a difference with one significant act of kindness after the other.
Should you feel moved to invest in giving someone a better life, Mr. Kurugh can be reached via WhatsApp on 09099467150 or 08069082285