Leadership

Organization Directors/Officers

Reverend Dr. Kingsley Chukwuemeka Ihejirika
Paula Ehoff, M. Ed
Dr. Chieke Evans Ihejirika
Dr. Clemense E. Ehoff, CPA
Dr. Emmanuel A. Ihejirika
Justin W. Watkins, Esq.


 
Father Kingsley Chukwuemeka Ihejirika -- Executive Director and Founder

Father Kingsley was born to Sylvanus Ihejirika and late Geraldine Ihejirika, nee Opara. Hails from Obike Ngor Okpala in Imo State Nigeria. Started Minor Seminary training in 1986, got into the Major Seminary in 1994 and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Owerri Nigeria in 2003. He holds three bachelor degrees in Philosophy, Theology and Religious Education from the Seat Of Wisdom Major Seminary, an affiliate of the Pontifical Urban University in Rome and the Imo State University respectively. He also holds a Masters Degree in Bioethics, a Licentiate Degree in Philosophy and a Ph.D in Philosophy from the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University and the Urban University respectively, both in Rome, Italy.

My passion for this charity project started quite early, approximately age 12 while I was undergoing training as a minor Seminarian. I would often go back to my native town of Obike where I grew up during the short breaks and holidays. It was one of the most mentally and emotionally agonizing experiences of my life, seeing widows and their children living in the most humiliating, most odious and extremely inhuman conditions in a country overflowing with resources. Besides being a community with no access roads, no electricity, no pipe borne water, no hospitals or maternities, these widows themselves have no education, no skills, no jobs, no social security, no husbands to support, a number of children to feed, and worst of all, NO HOPE. In a society predominantly patriarchal, where rights to communally owned resources are largely dependent on the men, most of these women, as soon as their husbands die, are often denied access to the communally owned goods such as lands for cultivation; which under normal circumstances and in the absence of any other form of support was supposed to be their last and only hope. Under this miserable condition, the best of them are sick and dying of preventable diseases while the most of them live in heart rending destitution. Their situation couldn't help but remind me of my own mother who died thirteen months after I was born.

Their children are even worse. Besides the ones who have lost both parents, majority of the children do not know the luxury of three square meals a day. By American standards, basic for these poor victims would be more than luxury, its affluence. About eight years ago, while my little four year old niece was visiting Nigeria from the United States with her parents, she, at some point, removed her clothes and went naked because most of the children she saw had no clothes on. However, she did not realize that those children were not naked by choice. Education for these kinds is, to say the least, like a pie in the sky.

My first instinct was to think about how I could help alleviate their burdens which indeed was, as at then, impossible for me. My priestly ordination offered some slim hope thanks to the meager monthly stipends that I received. Living in a parish where I had the basic needs, my first approach was to dedicate my monthly allowance (which at that time was about 150USD) to the care of these women and their children; either using it to purchase food items to be distributed among them or sharing the money, no matter how insignificant, to them. Although the amount was considerably small given the number of people involved, the hope it gave, as they themselves testified, was huge. This gesture was greeted with a mixture of joy and tears both of which were different ways of expressing how much my sacrifice really meant to them. And as some of them would make me understand later, it was an indication to them that at least someone was thinking about them and that hope which for them seemed forever lost was once again alive. Yet this glimmer of hope would be short lived as I had to leave for further studies in Rome, these women and their children returned to their endless sorrows and grief. In truth, besides the regular challenges that I had to face as a student overseas, news of their deepening woes were to me occasions for a tremendous amount of distress. It was doubly painful given that on account of my handicap as a student, it was absolutely impossible to assist them as I did before. As sorrow shared is sorrow halved, I thought that the best thing to do was to share their horrible experiences with a few friends including Paula and Clem Ehoff. The fruit of that sharing is what we have today as The Divine Mercy International Widows and Orphans Organization. This organization aims to ensure, among other things, that we give them not only food, but also, if possible, provide them with long term means of sustenance like helping to train them on skills acquisition including, soap making, sowing, weaving, petty-trading, poultry farming, goat rearing, sheep herding, subsistence farming, et cetera, and to equip them after the training with loans so as to benefit from the skills so acquired. We intend besides, to help them purchase pieces of land where they could farm and harvest the produce for personal and commercial purposes. Ultimately, our trifold objectives include: to help these miserable fellows put food on their tables, achieve self-sufficiency and most of all to help them live with some dignity.

Other than my efforts, members of my family, most of whom are based in the United States, have also made remarkable efforts towards alleviating their burdens, including feeding them periodically and most notably, sinking a borehole with the help of some generous friends. This effort was targeted at availing them of portable water and to help combat river blindness and all other forms of water borne diseases that had become their scourge. Even so, all these appear like a tiny drop in a huge ocean. The borehole has long ceased to function due to unavailability of means to maintain it.

I am convinced in my deepest conscience that destiny has placed me in this community for the purpose of speaking to their woes and I would feel a mortal guilt and anguish unless I put all my resources at their service in order to lighten their sorrows and to become a voice of hope on their behalf. We rely on you to accomplish this duty in love. Your nickels and dimes put together, designated to these brethren, would be worth a life. Join us on this mission to save lives, help us to spread the love. Our project is not asking for so much. It is asking for your little given in love for it is not as much about how much we give as it is about how much love there is even in the little that we give.

Join us and sow seeds that will remain forever in the heat of history and in the hearts of mankind.

 
Paula Tamburello Ehoff, M. Ed -- Co-founder

In 2009, a freak but very serious sports accident placed my daughter in serious condition in the hospital some 3000 miles away. With little but prayer to give her in the hours immediately proceeding her accident, I turned to a priest friend I had met the previous summer at our local parish for support. Via email (as he was at the time studying in Rome) we prayed together every day. I quickly realized the awesome power of the Divine Mercy prayer and the belief that what we do ask for in prayer -- be it good for our souls WILL be answered.

Over the coming months and years Father's incredible faith and belief in prayer lead me to DMIWOO. Father had a dream that the destitute widows and the orphans in his home town in Nigeria might have a better life. He shared that dream with me and his passion for service to these poor individuals was infectious.

Providing my time, talent and treasure to this cause has brought another meaningful component to my life. Although My nonprofit work in the YMCA for the last 20 years has enabled me to serve others in a special way and sharpened my nonprofit skills, the vision and mission created by the DMIWOO project has opened a special channel for me to do the Lord's work. I hope the stories, pictures, and cause provided herein moves you in a similar way. God bless...

Paula Ehoff is the Chief Operating Officer for the Westfield Area Y in New Jersey. She has served the Y organization over the last 20 years in Westfield, Baltimore and Chicago. Paula holds a Master's degree from Towson University in Education and has taught education and leadership classes at the University level. Paula has served on the boards of several community service organizations. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce.

 
Dr. Chieke E. Ihejirika -- Secretary & Board Member

Dr. Chieke E. Ihejirika is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Lincoln University Pennsylvania. He obtained his B. Ed. in English Teacher Education from Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education Owerri, Nigeria; B.A. Philosophy and M.A. in American Studies from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, M.A. Political Science from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; and a Ph. D from Temple University Philadelphia Pennsylvania. He is the Prelaw Advisor at Lincoln University, Editor of the Bulletin of the History and Political Science Department. He is the columnist in FunTimes Magazine. His research is on comparative democratization in Africa. His most recent publication in books is titled: Political Theory: A Global Approach. South Carolina: Booksurge, 2009; Political Theory Made Simple, The Pantheon of Philosophers (2011). His latest is Capitalism and prosperity in the 21st Century. He is the second Igbo man teaching Political Science at Lincoln, the first was Dr. Hon. Nnamdi Azikiwe, President of Nigeria, and father of Nigerian Nationalism. In the tradition set by Dr. Hon. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr Chieke Ihejirika has continued to keep the development of his native community on the front burner. my passion is that: "I must make positive change in the lives of people around me with my talents and treasure because I believe that one has not truly lived until the one has made life better for others."
 
Dr. Clemense Ehoff Jr., CPA -- Treasurer & Board Member

Dr. Clemense Ehoff Jr. is an accounting professor for Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington. He holds a Ph.D in Business Administration from Golden Gate University in San Franciso, and an MBA from Regis University, in Denver, Colorado. Clem has more than 30 years professional business experience and has held full-time faculty and adjunct positions at several universities predominantly in the Eastern United States. Over the last ten years, Dr. Ehoff has been involved in teaching accounting and tax courses in an online platform. He operates a consulting and tax practice. He has published articles in Elevator World, as well as academic business journals. Dr. Ehoff is also a professional jazz pianist and donates many hours of his professional services to the YMCA and other nonprofits causes. Currently, Dr Ehoff is offering $5 of the proceeds of his latest Jazz CD to the DMIWOO project. For more information regarding this offer, contact Clem at info@DMIWOO.org

 
Dr. Emmanuel A. Ihejirika -- Financial Secretary & Board Member

My name is Dr. Emmanuel Asoluka Ihejirika or (Prof. Manny) as my students will call me. Bonafide of Nigeria, 3rd of Ihejirika clan, resident in the United States, and a citizen of U.S. living in Philadelphia Pennsylvania since 1990. I'm married with five wonderful children. I am a holder of a Doctorate degree in Business Administration with accounting concentration from Argosy University, MBA DeSales University, and Bachelor of Science degree from Drexel University. I currently teach the following courses between five United States institutions of higher learning. (Strayer University, American InterContinental University, Rasmussen College, Delaware County Community College and Pennsylvania Institute of Technology)

I have over 9 years of practical work experience working for Davita Inc., in healthcare as an Audit and Compliance Coordinator. I was also employed by PNC Bank as a Senior Investment Accountant for 4 years overseeing the daily portfolio management, fund share subscription and redemption, fund expenses and dividend pay- out and later I was promoted to Trade Advisory Specialist, overseeing global Securities trading and settlement as well as foreign exchanges transactions. I am the current president of Owerri Obinwanne Association, a non-profit organization in the Delaware Valley Pennsylvania, director of Finance Iwene Tansi Chaplaincy at St. Cyprian Catholic Church, Philadelphia and co-director of the Divine Mercy International Widows and Orphans Organization,

Father Kingsley's story is a very true presentation of his sacrificial commitment to the welfare of these widows and orphans who cry to heaven every day for help. I do believe that your involvement in this project is prayer answered. Keep in mind as someone says that we make a living by what we get and we make a life by what we give.
DMIWOO
DMIWOO | Address: P.O. Box 156 Ellensburg, WA 98926 | Email: info@dmiwoo.org