From his earliest years, thanks to his parents and their deep belief in education, Aloysius Ihezie was privileged to benefit from sound schooling at the Holy Ghost College in Owerri and later at the University of Benin where he studied optometry. Initially, Aloysius worked at an eye clinic in Lagos but, keen to increase his knowledge of optometry, moved to the UK in 1989.
Some years later and after careful research, the opportunity arose to move into a completely new field working in association with UK charitable organisations. Aloysius identified a significant gap in the UK market whereby the introduction of a new operation to collect and process unsold textiles from charity shops would bring great benefits to UK charities, the UK economy and to the environment.
And so, from a small beginning, the seeds were sown for a company that in just a few years, it would provide employment for over one hundred people. The company generated much-needed support for charities and helped to increase UK exports while making a very real contribution to the environment.
Perhaps one of the most significant developments came in 2005 when his pioneering spirit led Aloysius to find a use for the millions of surplus preowned books throughout the United Kingdom.
This innovation, to collect preowned books of all types, would, over time, be copied by other major UK companies with the result that some fifty million books are now being put into other use every month. It would be fair to say that the contribution made by Aloysius has been highly constructive and valued by many philanthropic organisations who have entered into a partnership with him due to the educational opportunities that have been created all because of an idea from one man.
For Aloysius, however, this was not enough and driven by his deep commitment to philanthropic works, in particular, to fight against poverty, improve literacy and numeracy in Africa, Aloysius has gone the extra mile to support a great range of good causes both in the UK and Africa. Since the early years of the new century, Aloysius has, through the offices of his organisation brought huge benefits to the UK not-for-profit sectors and to individual causes.
The following year, 60,000 textbooks were donated to the Government of the Republic of Liberia to support education in the country. In 2018, Ihezie Foundation extended the book donation programme to the University of Benin and, of the 60,000 donated to the University, 22,000 books were given to schools and libraries in the University’s immediate hinterland.
Over subsequent years, the Ihezie Foundation has donated over 100,000 children’s educational reading books to primary schools throughout Buckinghamshire and Greater London.
This important work continues until this day; currently, following the very successful partnership with the University of Benin, negotiations are in hand to extend the book donation programme to the University of Nigeria in Nsukka with a vision to donate in excess of a million books a year to sub-Saharan Africa.