About LEA's Founders
With a heart for empowering the next generation, Mrs. Vanessa Ekwelum co-founded LEA in 2021. A “third culture kid” (“TCK”) growing up, having been born in Nigeria, yet raised in Denmark and in the United States, she possesses a rich cultural background and worldview. The eldest of seven children, she had to play a motherly, nurturing role at a young age. While in Denmark, Mrs. Ekwelum benefitted from a holistic, cognitively-demanding education that unlocked her ability to think critically. She eventually went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedicine and then a Master’s degree in Molecular Medicine, both from the University of Southern Denmark. After completing her studies, to be able to invest in her family full-time, Mrs. Ekwelum made the decision to lay aside a promising career in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries - a life-changing, rewarding decision that she has not regretted to this day.
Passionate about youth development and improving the human condition through education, Dr. Chukwuma Ekwelum co-founded LEA in 2021. His hope is not simply to cultivate fine scholars in the classroom, but to also play a role in shaping better ambassadors for a world in desperate need of more people who proliferate God’s love. He has overcome a great deal of hardship in his lifetime and cherishes opportunities to uplift others with his personal story. A native of Boston, Massachusetts, but the eldest son of Nigerian immigrants, he possesses a cultural background and lens that enables him to understand a wide range of life experiences. A dedicated, lifelong learner, Dr. Ekwelum is thankful to God for all of the scholastic achievements that He has blessed him with, including membership in the Charles F. Donovan Urban Teaching Scholars Cohort, recipiency of the Bank of America Leaders in Urban Education Scholarship, recipiency of the United States Department of Education Title III Scholarship, and membership in the Wisconsin Idea Executive Ph.D. Cohort in K-12 Leadership. In addition to serving as an in-school K-12 administrator for several years, he has experience in the educational technology sector, having worked as a virtual Instructional Coach and as an Adjunct Professor who taught a virtual course in instructional leadership to aspiring school leaders.
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In 2014, Dr. and Mrs. Ekwelum met and fell in love. Two years later, they got married. Out of their loving union came their son, Josiah Jidechukwu Ekwelum, and then their daughter, Hadassah Amarachi Ekwelum. Ordained together in 2018, they served as Associate Pastors at Destiny Life Center International (Massachusetts, USA) under the discipleship of Senior Pastors Roland and Patricia Cooper, before moving to Rwanda. They did not move to Rwanda as missionaries, neither are they missionaries now. Bringing along their love for God and their love for the African Diaspora, they moved to Rwanda in search of peace of mind and to finally experience real community.
Away from work, the couple enjoys various hobbies. Dr. Ekwelum loves listening to music, exercising, reading, writing, playing chess, playing video games, and watching competitive sports. Mrs. Ekwelum also loves listening to music, in addition to her love for singing, cooking, makeup artistry, skin care, and watching (and reviewing) movies.