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"Creating lasting change"

England rugby star Maro Itoje has proudly launched The Pearl Fund, which will work in partnership with World Vision UK and CDLi.


The fund aims to transform the lives of children in Nigeria and other African countries by generating a multi-million-pound investment in education. Donations will be given with Stewardship.

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“The Pearl Fund is looking to have a real impact on the lives of the children that it touches through quality education, where a long-term commitment is made to help them escape the cycle of poverty. This means children can fulfil their true potential and never limit their ambitions. Education is the great equaliser.”

Maro Itoje

Saracens & England Professional Rugby Union Player

The challenge

Education changes lives

The Pearl Fund aims to significantly impact the lives of children in Nigeria and Ghana through life-changing education programmes.

Education helps break the cycle of poverty, providing children with the knowledge and skills needed to achieve their full potential. It can improve health outcomes and promote gender equality.


But it’s not just life-changing for those who receive the education. By supporting this fund to improve access to education for children in Nigeria and Ghana, you will be transforming the lives of future generations and communities.

Maro and The Pearl Fund aim to create a positive impact with depth as opposed to breadth. By focusing on a small number of children, the fund will be able to support them for longer, and more significantly, than supporting a higher number of children with less support.

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A young Nigerian girl looks smiling to camera

In Nigeria


The first programme, with Community Development Links Initiative, will be a 'cradle-to-college' approach, where a cohort of pre-school children from one of Lagos’ most deprived areas will be supported - from early childhood, through the school system until school leaving age. Then they will be offered continued support through university or a vocational training programme. The children will also have additional input, such as economic support for their family, improved nutrition and clean water. 


Another programme will centre on the town of Eku and those who have successfully completed primary and secondary education but can’t afford university or vocational training. The foundation will create a bursary to support the neediest by funding their education - and also support their families at home.

In Ghana


Additionally, The Pearl fund will help World Vision’s programmes in eight districts across Ghana, supporting 180 communities through education programming. Along with teacher training to improve engaging teaching methods, reading clubs are key to helping children - using engaging, culturally relevant and level appropriate books. Historically, there has been a 29% increase in children learning to read by those attending reading clubs.

Maro says: “Long-term development is something World Vision UK are experts in, so I’m excited for The Pearl Fund to benefit from World Vision’s 70 years of experience working with vulnerable children and their communities to create lasting change.”

Children at a school in Ghana supported by World Vision smile to camera

Funding goals of The Pearl Fund

CDLi logo

70% will support Community Development Links Initiative (CDLi) to fund education projects in Nigeria.

CDLi is a Non-Governmental Organisation working and registered in Nigeria, aimed at developing communities and reducing poverty, through creating learning opportunities for vulnerable people.


In the last ten years CDLi has supported the education (from primary to tertiary) of over one hundred orphans and fatherless children. The CDLi organises free summer school programmes for vulnerable children in communities in Alimosho, the largest Local Government Area in Lagos. Around 1200 children have also benefitted from educational and psychosocial support during school holidays, and a supplementary school programme.

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World Vision UK logo

30% will support World Vision UK to fund education projects in Ghana.

World Vision is a Non-Government Organisation helping the world’s most vulnerable children overcome poverty and experience fullness of life.

For over 70 years, they have worked together with communities – of all faiths and none – even in the most dangerous places, inspired by their Christian faith.


World Vision works in almost 100 countries where the need is greatest, helping bring about amazing transformations, both to individuals and whole communities. Providing education, child protection, water and sanitation, food, and health and nutrition, World Vision has vast experience in supporting children living in the most fragile places.

Find out more

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Changing lives

Prince, from Ghana, has been able to stay in school due to World Vision sponsorship

A few years ago, not one child in Prince’s community in Afram Plains, Ghana, could read. Now over 800 children can read and the numbers are growing, thanks to World Vision sponsors.

Earning a living in Afram Plains isn’t easy and the most boys like Prince could aspire to was a life of hauling nets on the boats of Lake Volta, making just enough money to eat for another day. But World Vision sponsors means that Prince doesn’t have to drop out of school to work; he is able to study, get a job, and break the poverty cycle for good.

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What is The Pearl Fund?

The full name of the fund is 'The Pearl Fund, The Maro Itoje African Education Programme' (known as The Pearl Fund). The fund was envisioned by the British-Nigerian philanthropist and England rugby star Maro Itoje. The Pearl Fund will work in partnership with international aid organisations, including World Vision UK and CDLi, with support from Stewardship. The fund aims to generate a multi-million-pound charitable investment in the education of children in Nigeria and wider African countries, offering long-term support to help break the cycle of poverty. 

 Is The Pearl Fund only supporting Ghana and Nigeria?

The Pearl Fund aims to generate multi-million-pound investment in the education of children, and, as the fund grows, it aims to extend support to other education projects in Africa. 

How will donations be managed and used?

Donations will be made by visiting the Stewardship fundraising page, and the funds will be split with 70% going to CDLi, and 30% going towards World Vision UK education projects in Ghana.   

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