CASA GRANDE — A Casa Grande man who travels to Nigeria each year to deliver money and goods to an orphanage said donations from area residents and businesses have impacted the lives of many.

Chidi “Simon” Okuagu is originally from Nigeria. He lives in Casa Grande and works as a pharmacist.

Every year he visits Nigeria to see family. On those visits, he stops in at St. Mary’s Perpetual Help Community Children’s Home in Nkpor, Nigeria, and other area orphanages, taking money, medicine, vitamins and other items to help the children in the facilities.

Over the years, many area residents and organizations, including Knights of Columbus Council 3136, have helped Okaugu raise money to purchase supplies to take to the orphanages.

“The support form the community was amazing,” he said.

The donations, he said, have improved the lives and living conditions of the children in the orphanages.

“I just returned from my annual trip to the Nigerian orphanages,” Okuagu said. “It was indeed quite gratifying to see a lot of great improvements in the lives of the orphans.”

Okuagu is a member of Knights of Columbus Council 3136, which is affiliated with St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church.

In 2017, when he talked with his fellow Knights and St. Anthony parishioners about the conditions in Nigerian orphanages and their needs, the local council wanted to help. They launched a fundraising campaign for his efforts in 2017, raising enough money for Okuagu to take supplies to three orphanages.

They repeated the campaign in the fall of 2018 and 2019.


Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at