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Nigerian widows live in abject poverty with their children malnourished, prone to diseases – NGO

A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Channel For Widow Relief Initiative(CFWRI),  has urged  the Federal Government to design a programme that would have direct impact on  widows in the country.

Alhaja Fadihilat Balogun , the founder of the NGO  which supports widows and orphans, made the appeal   on Thursday at the fifth edition of  its  annual get-together  in Ibadan.

Balogun also  called on the government and other   stakeholders to make the task of alleviating the suffering of widows and their children a priority .

“In Nigeria today, most widows live in abject poverty with most of their children malnourished and prone to avoidable diseases.

“The population of widows is steadily increasing in Nigeria and yet little is known about them and the challenges they go through.

“ Many of these widows rely on petty trading because of insufficient funds  to engage in a fairly lucrative business that would be sufficient to take care of themselves and their children.

“ Government and relevant stakeholders need to collaborate to alleviate the suffering of widows in Nigeria because organisations alone cannot bear the enormous task of the widows in the country,’’ she said.

Balogun said that CFWRI had at different times enrolled more than 300 widows into its  various initiatives.

According to her, these  include  poultry keeping, small scale loan scheme, interest free micro finance scheme and  screening for cervical cancer  .

She said that CFWRI  was currently executing  an empowerment  programme  on fashion designing where widows and orphans were being trained.

Balogun said  the scheme involves designing and sewing clothes with the ultimate intention of   empowering  them by giving them  sewing machines and other equipment after graduation.

She  solicited the support of  public  spirited individuals, corporate bodies, government, foundations, local and international donors for funding  its  projects.

Prof. Babatunde Adegoke, the President of  Rotary Club of Akobo, Ibadan, gave  interest-free loan of  N15,000 each to 10 widows at the occasion.

He  urged the beneficiaries to ensure that they paid  back the loan to enable   others  benefit from the scheme.

Adegoke said that the Rotary Club of Akobo had been giving  widows interest-free loans in the last three years.

He also said that the beneficiaries  had  not been defaulting, adding that  this had sustained the  loan scheme.

Adegoke commended CFWRI, saying the centre was helping those who would have been  a burden on  the society.

The guest lecturer, Alhaja Nusirat Bakre, who spoke on “ Stress: Causes and Management,’’ urged widows to check their health status regularly.

She said that this was because  complications arising from stress could be very serious.



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