By Chris Onuoha
Over 500 widows in Agwu local government area in Enugu State has reasons to smile as succor came their way auspice of Queen Jennifer Unity Foundation.
The goodwill gesture comprising food items such as rice, tin tomatoes, benny season, salt, plantain floor, disinfectant, liquid soaps and wrapper cloths were shared to the widows on Saturday at the local government secretariat in Agwu to spark off an annual empowerment programme initiated by the organisation.
Former beauty queen, Miss Jennifer Okechukwu who is the founder of the organisation, while handing over the items to the widows said that the gesture is part of its empowerment programmes drawn to alleviate the plight of widows and indigent persons in the society. Queen Jennifer also used the opportunity to appeal to the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders to design a programme that would have direct impact on widows in the country and 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 with NGOs to alleviate the suffering of widows in Nigeria because Organisations alone cannot bear the enormous task of the widows in the country,’’ she said.
Queen Jennifer also disclosed that the foundation will enroll more than 300 widows into its various skill acquisition and self-employed initiatives. According to her, the foundation is currently executing an empowerment programmes on fashion designing, soap making among others where widows and orphans will be trained, while screening centers for cervical cancer and other health challenges will be made available for this widows.
She however, solicited the support of good spirited individuals, public, private and corporate bodies including international donors for fund to actualise the huge projects the organisation has mapped out.
The representative of the Agwu Local Government Chairman, Hon. Nonso Ochi while commending the foundation on its laudable effort thanked especially the ex-beauty queen Jennifer for making widows’ case a priority in her project. She also gave lectures on “Stress: Causes and Management,’’ while urging widows to check their health status regularly. She stressed that this was because complications arising from stress could be very serious as harmful.
Lending her voice, Queen Vera Nweke (Queen of South Nigeria) commended Queen Jennifer Unity Foundation, saying the foundation was helping those who would have been a burden on the society.