By Ozioruva Aliu

SOME indigenes of Edo State in the diaspora under the auspices of Edo United USA have brought succour to no fewer than 60 widows drawn from the three senatorial districts that make up Edo State, to enable them start a new life.

NDV reports that a young lady, identified as Becky Osagie, who voluntarily returned from Europe a few years ago and chose to go into an unfamiliar terrain to be a vulcanizer also benefited from the gesture.

The group handed her some working tools with a promise to support her get a befitting shop to protect her kits.

An elated Becky said: “I travelled abroad and voluntarily came back to start work as a vulcanizer. I am so happy and I appreciate this and I am so grateful to Edo United. What they have given to me is capital- intensive and this will make my job easier and more efficient. I didn’t have anybody I could run to for help when I returned from Europe because what I experienced there was not what I expected.

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“I first thought of going into welding and fabrication but I discovered that it will be time consuming and expensive, then I thought of transportation but I could not even get anybody that could buy a vehicle for me. I was motivated by a video I watched about a woman vulcanizer and on inquiry, it would take me less time to learn that is why I chose that and I am indeed grateful.”

Janet Ekhator, who spoke on behalf of the other beneficiaries said: “We are so grateful for this thing happening in Nigeria today that you can gather us in this way to help us, we are so grateful”

Donors

In an interview with NDV, President of the group, Felix Iyoha said: “We have been in existence since 2004 and we are 43 in number right now. We are based in Houston, Texas, we decided this year to do an outreach programme for widows and vulnerable women in Edo State and we chose 60 widows across the three senatorial districts and gave out grinding machines.

“The idea behind this is that it is better to empower them, buy something for them so that they will be able to use and get residual income as opposed to just sharing cash to them. We chose widows because of the situation that has befallen them in the society. Some of them were full-time house wives before their husbands passed on and they don’t have any other means of livelihood so we decided to assist them.

“We reached out to the lady vulcanizer to know her needs because we were impressed that she chose to do that instead of just laying around and not doing anything so we raised money and bought her compressor machine, a tool box and other equipment to automate her business as much as possible. We are also going to give out money for renting a shop to make her job more comfortable and secure.”

Funding

On how the association sources its funds, the Vice- President, Kenneth Ihaza said: “We raise money in-house, almost all our members contributed something to this. We also have donors from all walks of life, even non- Nigerians donated when they heard about the initiative and they felt that it was not only laudable but also something they wanted to partake in and we received donations from about 14 people outside the union to do this.”

Government cautions

The state governor, Godwin Obaseki who was represented at the occasion by his Chief of Staff, Osaigbovo Iyoha cautioned the beneficiaries against selling the starter packs adding: “Investing in people is the best investment, let us make use of these materials so that next time they will be encouraged to do more.” 

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