About Rishama International
The need for orphan care in Nigeria is great, due to violent civil unrest. Envisioned by Rev. Thomas Maijamaa in 2014, the school and orphanage in Keffi became a reality with the foundation of the non-profit organization, Rishama International, through the work of US volunteers. The girls' hostels (dorms), dining facilities and administration building were dedicated in December, 2018. Rishama International Faith & Hope Christian Academy opened its doors in September 2019, and currently serves 230 students. Construction of a boys' hostel is underway. In 2019, Rishama put a down payment on 17 acres of land for growing food for the orphanage and school, as well as helping provide extra revenue. Children also learn practical farming skills that they can use when they graduate.
The Meaning of "Rishama"
The word "Rishama" is from the Rev. Thomas Maijamaa's Mada tribe. Taken from Ezekiel 48:35, the Hebrew "Jehovah Shama" means "The LORD is there".
And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The LORD Is There.
To give hope to the orphaned, fatherless and impoverished children of Nigeria by providing them with love, superior education, a safe place to live, proper medical care and the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
At-risk children in Nigeria deserve access to education, life sustaining care, and a future free from poverty and exploitation. We seek to provide hope through the boundless love of Jesus Christ. Rishama serves, through God’s grace and power, to make these children better citizens of Nigeria and the Kingdom of God.
Rishama International Board (USA)
Thomas Maijamaa - Executive Chairman
Thomas is an ordained minister of the word of God in the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA). He is married to Hannatu and has 3 sons. He received God’s call into full time church planting and evangelism in 1994. Since then he has been a national missionary under the Evangelical Missionary Society (EMS of ECWA) in Nigeria.
He transferred his service to ECWA Keffi District Church Council in 1997 where he served as a senior pastor in various churches. He has been involved in the ministry of church planting and evangelism in rural and suburbs of Abuja environs. Read more...
Steven Modricker - Chairman
Don Jones - Secretary / Acting Vice Chairman
1969 Donald spent 5 years as director of SIM Headquarters Pharmacy in Jos, Nigeria servicing dispensaries and hospitals. The next 38 years he had positions as Director of Pharmacy at both hospital and health systems. Retiring from full time practice in 2014 he currently owns and operates a home based business specializing in sports nutrition. He is an elder at Oreland Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
Norman R. Bitterman - Treasurer
Norm has had a 56 year career in the financial banking industry. He worked from 1960 to 1985 in both the consumer and commercial lending departments of the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society (PSFS). In 1986, Bitterman founded CLS Corporation, a business that provided turn-key consumer loan operations for savings banks and savings and loan institutions across the United States on an outsourced basis. In 1994, he founded Caliber Commercial Corporation, a company that provided commercial loan credit analysis for banks and other lending institutions on an outsourced basis.
He graduated from Elizabethtown College in 1960 with a B.S. Degree in Accounting. He received an M.B.A degree from Temple University in 1968 and in 1977 he completed the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration.
Other board members
Virginia "Ginny" Jefferis
Paul Leese, MBA
Paul Leese is the Executive Vice President at Allentown-based Keenan-Nagle Advertising. Paul attended DeSales University and earned a Bachelor’s degree with a dual major in Business Communications and Management in 1998. He later earned his MBA in 2001, also from DeSales.
He, along with his wife Bridget and their two children, Maggie and Nicholas, lives in Red Hill, Pennsylvania. In the community, Paul is a member of the DeSales University President’s Advisory Council and the Business Advisory Council for DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management. He currently serves on the Salvation Army Allentown Corps Advisory Board, the Alliance for Building Communities board and is a member of the Bethlehem Rotary Club. Paul is also an active member of Riverside Community Church where he serves as an elder.
A graduate of Eastern University with a 30+ year career in Chemistry. Fiona has also been a big part of the youth and missions at Glenside Bible Church. Her passion has always been reaching out to youth. She served 20+ years as High School Sunday School teacher and assisted leading youth missions trips.
Paul Seitz is a member of Shively Christian Church, Louisville, Kentucky. He is so passionate to serve the Lord and be a part of what the Lord is doing through Rishama. His younger son, Pastor John, is the senior pastor of Antioch Christian Church, Marion, Iowa. Antioch is the area’s leading church serving Cedar Rapids, Marion and surrounding towns.
Joshua Odetunde is originally from Nigeria. He is a minister at 1st Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Louisville Kentucky. He is a consulting Director for a nonprofit housing organization, CHMSN Inc in Louisville, Kentucky as well. His formal education and work experiences are Environmental Studies, Real Estate, and Public Policy and Administration. Being a naturalized citizen, his several years of education and work experiences are both in Nigeria and the United States of America.
Rob has 30+ years in the chemical industry, including positions in R&D, manufacturing, supply chain, and regulatory compliance. He and his wife, Grace Ann, have served as leaders in youth ministry, young adults groups, and church mission trips. Rob has also served as a deacon and elder in their local church. Rob and Grace Ann look forward to the opportunity to support Rishama International.
Board of Trustees
From left to right standing Mr. Joel Olugbo, Perm. Sec. Nasarawa State Govt. (Rtd), Rev. Maitausayi Danbaki, former Keffi District Church Council Chairman (Rtd), Rev. Garba Kunama, fomer Keffi District Church Council Asst. Sec. (Rtd), Mr. Hosea Maman, Civil Servant (Rtd), And Mr. Musa Lai, Staff, Social Welfare, FCDA Abuja