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.