GoodBrothers! Afam Onyema

He turned down $160,000 for the opportunity to save more than 160,000 lives.  Meet Afam Onyema.

He graduated from Harvard in 2001, then moved on to law school – at Stanford.  He’s had jobs and internships at some of the most prestigious law firms in the nation.  At the pinnacle of success, he had not one, but two, job offers – both with starting a starting salary of $160,000.  He was on the verge of getting everything he ever wanted when he made a startling realization:  He wanted more.

40 years before, a young man named Godwin Onyema looked around his Nigerian homeland and noticed that there was a lack of medical care.  He decided that he wanted to become a doctor, and to open a hospital the help heal his people.  As the years went on, Godwin became an OB/Gyn, moved to the United States, and started a family.  But his dreams for Nigeria never died.  Instead, they were born again into the minds and hearts of his children.  The name of the non-profit he founded in 2005 bears the initials of each of them – GEANCO.  The A in GEANCO is for Godwin’s middle child and the COO of his organization, Afam.

After turning down the job offers, Afam turned to his Ivy League network – not for job references, but for donations.  Contributors to GEANCO

Image Credit: The AM Law Daily

include Forest Whitaker, Jimmy Kimmel, Ernst & Young, Stanford Law School, the LINZY foundation, MGM Los Vegas, and many more.  Nigeria itself has also donated land to GEANCO, on which their state-of-the –art medical facility to be built.

The hospital, to be named Augustine Memorial (after Afam’s grandfather), will provide everything from basic preventative care to advanced surgeries and cancer treatments.  Not only will the hospital be a direct source of care for its patients, it will also serve as a teaching hospital for local doctors outside of the facility so they can improve care throughout the region.   The hospital will also provide community education, such as techniques for malaria prevention, to stifle the spread of communicable and preventable diseases.

For more information about GEANCO, visit the website:

The GoodBrothers! is a new feature for SistersSpace.  In this column, we will feature positive black men from jazz musicians to entrepreneurs. If you would like to recommend a GoodBrother!, click here.

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