Women particularly Widows in Ogun state are being empowered for self reliance in response to the current economic challenges in Nigeria and the world at large through various activities on capacity building.
In this regard, chest freezers, sewing machines, grinding machines, gas cookers and burners, hair dryers, bags of rice and other items have been distributed to 500 Widows by the Ajose Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
Speaking at the commemoration of this year’s International Widows Day, with the theme “Invisible Women, Invisible Problem” organized by the office of the First Lady in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Ajose Foundation, First Lady and Wife of the Ogun state Governor, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun noted that it was important to see to the empowerment of Widows and to also give them access to required training to boost their trades and businesses.
She added that “The more useful and productive you are, the more you can earn a living and take care of yourself and your family. Especially for Widows, I would like to hear discussions among yourselves about how we can build your capacity, help you start a business or give you credit to expand. The opportunities are many, waiting to be explored, and there are many organizations willing to support”.
Mrs. Abiodun listed some of the challenges faced by Widows in developing countries like Nigeria, to include, social stigma, suspicion and lack of right to the husband’s inheritance among others adding that Widows in Ogun state should no longer be invisible with their challenges but to be seen and their challenges addressed.
In her address, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hon. Funmi Efuwape, stated that actions were needed to be taken to uphold commitments towards ensuring that the rights of Widows as enshrined in the International laws were defended.
She said the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in conjunction with Ajose Foundation was working assiduously towards ensuring that all Women in the state were empowered through various empowerment programs such as provision of Micro Credit Scheme, Vocational Training and Mobile Skill.
The event featured talks on various business opportunities for the Widows by the Ministries of Agriculture and Women Affairs and how they could access one digit interest loans to start them and expand existing ones by NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, Sterling Bank and the Central Bank of Nigeria the partnering financial institutions.
The event had in attendance Widows from the 20 Local Government Areas of the state who benefitted from the raffle draw by the Ajose Foundation.
Bagged food items like rice, beans, cooking oil, garri, noodles and seasoning cubes were among the items distributed to the widows.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Bola Thomas expressed gratitude to the organizers and profoundly prayed for the Wife of the Governor, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun adding that she counted herself blessed by God with Chest Freezer which she won.