Alumni, Campus wide, Sociology

Foundation supports Nigerian orphans

By Jan Joslin | June 28, 2021
The Alice Gombwer Foundation, established by CSU men's basketball alumnus Paul Gombwer, provides for orphans and widows in Nigeria
The Alice Gombwer Foundation, established by CSU men’s basketball alumnus Paul Gombwer, provides for orphans and widows in Nigeria. Photo provided

Paul Gombwer ‘15 is an assistant store manager for Home Depot and runs The Alice Gombwer Foundation. He and his wife, Kayla, have a son, Braxton. His parents are deceased, and he has five siblings in his native Nigeria, four brothers and one sister. He said, “Most of the money to help run the foundation activities actually comes from my paycheck.” Of his wife and son, he says, “God blessed me with these two amazing people who came into my life and have been very supportive of what I do.”

Starting His Foundation

My foundational work actually started in 2010 while at Montrose Christian High School. After waking up one morning, I heard the call to reach out to orphans. I called my sister, Abigail, back in Nigeria and told her this was what I heard and would like to do. She started looking for an orphanage that I can partner with and found one, but we didn’t get any response back from the owner. I called her again and said I do not think that is the one God wants us to work with. Then we found another one called Adonai in the city of Kaduna where I grew up. While in high school I was collecting shoes, toothpaste, books, and more and sending them to Nigeria for the kids. My mom was a huge part of this movement as well. But while I was at CSU in 2013, my mom, Alice Paul Gombwer, went home to be with the Lord and that was what actually gave birth to the Alice Gombwer Foundation which is to honor the memory of my beloved mom. 

Paul, Kayla, and Brandon Gombwer
Paul, Kayla, and Brandon Gombwer. Photo provided

Another reason behind the start of my foundation is my experience growing up in the northern part of Nigeria, Kaduna to be precise. I experienced a lot of religious crisis, one of them almost took my life in 2001 when I happened to find myself among my Muslims friends who were carrying all sorts of weapons and machetes. The crisis is one that spread around the whole state, and if you are a Muslim who happens to be in the Christian-dominated area, you will get killed, and if you are a Christian who happens to be in the Muslim-dominated area, you will also get killed. So at the end of the day, you just have to pray to God to be in the right place at the right time when the crisis occurs regardless of your religious affiliation or beliefs. 

Improving Lives of Children in Nigeria

The Alice Gombwer Foundation is working to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats orphans and to help protect their human rights as well as working to promote peace. Our goals are to work to improve the lives of orphans and at-risk children in Nigeria and around the world by promoting peaceful coexistence, conflict resolution, and peaceful conditions. We are doing this through the unifying power of sports, education, and evangelism, thus meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the orphans. We have been doing events yearly since 2017, but due to the virus in 2020 we were not able to carry out the normal athletic activities, but we were able to help provide foodstuff/groceries to 83 widows in the city of Kaduna and also sponsored half of a surgery bill for a kid who was about to face amputation due to an accident he sustained in March 2020.

Paul Gombwer, a former member of the CSU men’s basketball team, speaks to a team in Nigeria
Paul Gombwer, a former member of the CSU men’s basketball team, speaks to a team in Nigeria. Photo provided

How Can Others Be Involved?

The foundation is open to everyone who is led to help or partner with us at The foundation is a 501c3 and is registered both in South Carolina and Nigeria. We collect shoes, clothing, and books to help the orphans and also sporting equipment to help with our sporting events such as our annual international soccer/basketball for peace tournament and basketball camp. We are also open to volunteers in the local area or international level. We are actually working on our 2021 event which is coming up in July and will also soon start doing something in the Lowcountry.

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