May 28, 2023

NGO empowers 50 widows in Lagos

NGO empowers 50 widows in Lagos

By Henry Ojelu

As the world commemorates the International children’s day celebration, the Succor for Orphans Widows and the Disabled Initiative, SOWD, have empowered a total of 50 widows in Lagos State, with both cash sums and food items.

SOWD, a non Governmental organisation, embarked on the empowerment for vulnerable widows and mothers of the society, in a bid to assist in lifting the burdens off their shoulders.

The event, held on Saturday, May 27, at the Saint Thomas More Catholic Church Hall, located at the University of Lagos, (UNILAG), had in attendance, large number of widows and people from different works of life.

Speaking on the empowerment, Founder of the Initiative Mrs Ifeyinwa Cecilia Ejinkeonye, told newsmen that the SOWD Initiative formerly known as Divine Project in 2017, was “born” out of genuine love and concern for vulnerable members of the society.

According to her, it is crystal clear that Lagos State is home to multitude of widows, most of whom become relegated and abandoned by family and friends, soon after the demise of their husbands, to solely fend for themselves and their children.

She said that being aware of this neglect, SOWD decided to figure out a way of giving back to society by reaching out to widows, which she said is part of the concept of the initiative.

“SOWD initiative is inspired by the love of God and humanity.

“We are not only reaching out to these widows financially, but morally and spiritually too.

“We believe that an individual cannot do it alone, so, if you want to move far in life, you need to move with people,” she said

Mrs Ejinkeonye, therefore, noted that it behoves on both the state and Federal government, to ensure that it lends a soothing hand of support to well meaning foundations like SOWD, who have “dared” to venture into the realm of providing succor to “succor deserving” members of society.

Although not a religious organisation, Ejinkeonye noted that the initiative is opened to all, adding that our humanity is basically judged by the visible impacts we make in the lives of fellow humans.

The founder added that apart from the cash gift of N50,000, the Initiative is also providing moral/mental assessment help to the widows through resource persons who are knowledgeable in that field

She urged government and inviduals, to endeavour to extend a helping hand to those in dire need and who can be seen all around if we pay the necessary attention.

“There are not just 50 widows in Nigeria and their needs are beyond the N50,000 which we are giving them today, so, government needs to extend the required support in this regards.

“When you empower a woman, you empower a nation,” she said

In the same vein, Ambassador Ikemba Divine, Co-founder of SOWD, said that the initiative which was conceived about three years back, had been a long time coming.

Speaking on the criteria for selection of the beneficiaries, he told newsmen that the initiative had done a careful selection over time.

He noted that this was done by physically interacting with the widows and visiting their homes, businesses and environment in a bid to determine those who truly qualify for the Initiative’s succor.

Ikemba also underscored the need for government and financially virbrant Nigeriana, to key into such initiative, since the whole essence of government is giving a meaning to the lives of its citizenry.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of SOWD, Miss Amuche Jennifer Ejinkeonye said that May 27, which also coincides with the launch of the initiative, is very significant to the body.

According to her, the initiative is aimed at bringing succour to disadvantaged members of society like the widows, orphans, and even the disabled, which is why SOWD centres on showing and spreading love.

“This day May 27 is significant to us as it coincides with the launch of the Initiative.

“A large percentage of the widows we are reaching out to, are also mothers and we are optimistic that our outreach will make the desired difference,” she said.

Reacting to the empowerment, a beneficiary, Mrs LovIna Eze said that her husband died about three years ago leaving her behind with two kids to cater for all by herself

According to her, since the death of her husband, she had been desserted by family and friends, who never bothered to check on their existence.

She, therefore, thanked SOWD for coming to the rescue and giving her a reason to smile again.

On her part, another widow, Mrs Anthonia Odo, also expressed deep pleasure on the empowerment, and showed surprise that such body of humans still existed in our present world.

“I cannot say much, but I must say thank you to SOWD for remebering me and I pray God almighty to richly bless and reward them.,” she said

Another widow, Mrs Modesta Ogbonna, who said she had lost her husband since 12 years ago, also bemoaned the spate of neglect of widows in society

According to her, she was abandoned by those she felt she could rely on in her moment of grief, adding that she is however, relieved by the kind gesture of SOWD.

She also prayed God to bless and reward the initiative

The event also had in attendance some members of the catholic community , Lagos traders, students among others.