The playground was opened at the original site and the project launched on December 12, 1980 as part of the University of Nigeria’s 20th anniversary celebrations. Governor Jim Nwobodo of Anambra State performed the opening ceremony and donated funds for fencing and grounds development. Chief E. C. Iwuanyanwu, the Chairman of the occasion and an alumnus of the University, offered to build the permanent facility. Another alumnus, Prince Albert Koripamo, initiated the equipping of the Centre with a book grant and a 15-seater bus. Soon after, building commenced at the permanent site allocated to the project in the University’s master plan.
During the University’s Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1986, Chief Iwuanyanwu handed the completed building over to the University as part of the alumni’s contribution to the endowment fund, and early in 1987 the library and vacation activities moved to this new and spacious facility. The building was named in loving memory of Madam Hulder Iwuanyanwu, the mother of the donor, at a ceremony held in January 1992.
Expanded facilities and resources made it possible to extend services beyond the immediate university community. While the Children’s Centre had involved the larger community in such events as the 1979 Children’s Festival and International Youth Year Workshop of 1985, outreach commenced on a larger scale from 1988. In cooperation with the Department of Library Science (now the Department of Library and Information Science), for which it serves as a teaching laboratory, the Children’s Centre began library services to primary and secondary schools. It also began reaching out to the local Motherless Babies Home with regular visits, donations, and provision of additional staff. In 2000 the Centre initiated library service to the local prison. Most recently it introduced Psycho-Educational Testing Services for children and youth with special needs.
SILVER JUBILEE CELEBRATION
The Children’s Centre celebrated its 25th Anniversary on May 12-13, 2004. The anniversary began on May 12th with an afternoon of entertainment by the children from the Children’s Centre and nearby primary schools. In the evening the founding mothers and other old friends of the Centre were honored at a Founders’ Day dinner. Certificates were awarded to thirty women for their outstanding roles in developing the Children’s Centre. Seven friends and three long-serving staff were also honored on the occasion. (See Founders.)
The Silver Jubilee Celebration on May 13th was attended by numerous friends of the Children’s Centre, including Chief (Dr.) E. C. Iwuanyanwu and his wife, Lady Eudora Iwuanyanwu. Chairman of the occasion was Prof. Ebele Maduewesi, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Educational Research Development Council at that time, who is also a former President of the University Women’s Association and Chairman of the Children’s Centre Committee. During the celebration, awards were given to Dr. Uche Azikiwe and the late Alhaja Gambo Sawaba for their contributions to the empowerment of women.