Vera David-Emesiobum

The difficulties that the elderly face in coping with the functional, physical, and social well-being of the aging process cannot be overstated. Thus, the agony of malnutrition in an elderly person poses a great danger to their physical well-being.

However, few seniors remain self-sufficient, while others are living in abject poverty and require care. Nigeria has no functional national policy on the care and welfare of the elderly.

Hence, there is no system in place to cater to their needs. That is why a good Samaritan decides to bring hope into the lives of the elderly.

At this point, we would love to introduce to you the good Samaritan, Mrs. Vera David-Emesiobum.

Vera David-Emesiobum empathizes with the awful condition of the elderly, and she has been working tirelessly to make life livable for the elderly in Nigeria. She is here to talk about her passion, Project Grey, and the vision of PGECI and the impact she has had on society.

Vera David-Emesiobum

Vera David-Emesiobum (BSc. PMP) is a communications expert with over 10 years of volunteer and professional experience in the media and the social sector. A nonprofit founder, an impact investor, a donor, a modern-day Hemingway on social media and a social entrepreneur.

She loves the elderly and works closely with them through the Project Grey Elderly Care Initiative (PGECI), an NGO she founded in 2014, that has become the largest network, FOOD BANK, advocate and supporter of vulnerable and underprivileged seniors across Nigeria and other developing countries.

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Beneficiary & the Volunteers

We recently had an exclusive chat with her to find out more about her work as the founder of a nonprofit organization.

We have here with us the founder and CEO Project Grey Elderly Care Initiative (PGECI), Vera David-Emesiobum.

Vera David you are welcome to the Chatroom..

Vera David: Thanks for having me..

Share with us your WHY, why did you start your organization?

Vera David: My relationship with my dear grandma Isu (who gave birth to my mum) as a child inspired my work. I lost my grandparents early in life, but I was privileged to spend a little time with Grandma Isu. She was sick and had bowel incontinence. If Mummy was not around, it fell on four-year-old me to attend to her. My love and compassion for Grandma had no bounds. When she died, I was heartbroken. Growing up, I identified a social gap: senior citizens go through a lot of hardship due to non-inclusive social policies. I knew the right thing to do was to step in and lend a helping hand, although I didn’t know how deep I should go until I realized helping and working closely with seniors was my purpose; as I grew in the knowledge of God, it dawned on me that I must begin the work I do at Project Grey Elderly Care Initiative.

How do you overcome the challenges that come with running an NGO and what are the major challenges you face?

Vera David: I have been able to overcome the challenges that come with running Project Grey Elderly Care Initiative by building a strong team and putting structure in place. When you have this in place, it will not only offer liability protection, it will also help increase efficiency and productivity. A few of the challenges we face are: non-inclusive social policies and not enough facilities by the government for seniors; the lack of proper support from the media on matters concerning the elderly; misunderstanding and mistreatment of seniors; all these things affect the bottom line.

How do you appreciate your volunteers?

Vera David: Our volunteers are provided with meals during outreaches or engagements. Stipends for transportation (T&C applies), Volunteers also receive certificates after being with us diligently for a year. We also have recommendation letters written for our volunteers when the need arises as well as connecting them to job opportunities and training.

That’s interesting! What really inspires you to keep pushing on?

Vera David: For me, the work I do at Project Grey Elderly Care Initiative goes beyond passion, it is a mandate on my life. Just like i know my name, i know this is what God wants me to do, I am obeying God doing what I do for the seniors. I will be incomplete if I ever stop doing this work. For this reason, I have always been careful with all my life’s major decisions since the idea of the organization e.g, choosing a life partner or the type of job I take.

Please tell us about any major accomplishments by PGECI during the pandemic and your long-term goals and aspirations.

Vera David : In May 2020, we developed an emergency relief food supply program to support undeserved senior citizens across communities in Nigeria who had been affected by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through donations from our social media community and partners, we provided a month’s worth of food supplies and COVID-19 protective items to 455 senior citizens who were too poor to feed or afford COVID-19 protective items to protect themselves from the deadly virus.


Our goal is to empower 50,000 senior citizens through skill acquisition across Nigeria by the year 2031. Helping these seniors build small-scale businesses makes them financially independent individuals who can contribute to the economy. We are also looking to establish recreational centres for senior citizens across different communities in Nigeria, where senior citizens can relax and hang out with other seniors, get care, entertainment, and training in different areas.

What makes PGECI different from similar organizations?

Vera David: What makes us different is that, apart from the free meals and medical outreaches, we go a step further to empower the group of seniors who are still strong enough to fold up their sleeves to do simple work. Our organization has begun a journey proven to truly cater to the underprivileged senior population with over 6 years of experience working with this demographic group. We achieve this by facilitating psycho-social support, organizing skill acquisition training, and giving seed grants to undeserved seniors to start small-scale businesses. This provides them with a means of becoming financially independent individuals who can contribute to the economy. Rather than relying on their struggling families or resorting to begging in the streets for survival, they now have what it takes to put food on their tables.


What do you have to say to the people out there that may like to support this project?

Vera David : I’d like to welcome all well-meaning Nigerians and corporate organizations to support and partner with us; together we can make much more impact. The test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members. We’ll all age. Our investments in the lives of the elderly as young people will come back to us in our own time when age comes knocking.

On that passionate appeal, Vera David, thank you once again for coming, and we promise that the Dimacious will keep supporting the wonderful work you are doing in the Project Grey Elderly Care Initiative. Thank you for your time.

Vera David: Thank you for having me!

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Precious Peters is an honest, dynamic, and determined young man. He is a computer science graduate from Lagos State University. A blogger, a freelance writer, and a content writer who's waiting to make a difference. A knowledgeable facility manager and operations manager. He is passionate about the well-being of society. 


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