• Friday, July 19, 2024
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International Widows Day: Improving livelihoods of society though donations

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…ASR Africa, BUA, International Women’s Society, take lead

International Widows Day is a United Nations ratified day of action to address the ‘poverty and injustice faced by millions of widows and their dependents in many countries’. The day takes place annually on 23 June.

In many countries with traditional societies, women find themselves left in poverty when their husband dies. In some countries, these women find themselves denied inheritance and land rights, evicted from their homes, ostracised and abused. The children of widows also often find themselves affected, withdrawn from school and more vulnerable to abuse, especially in the case of girls.

International Widows Day works to encourage action in achieving full rights for widows, highlighting the need for more research and statistics into violence, discrimination and poverty suffered by widows and developing policies and programmes to address the problem.

The ultimate goal of the day is to develop resources and policy to empower widows and allow them to have access to education, work, healthcare and lives free of violence and abuse. Enabling them to create a life for themselves and their children following the death of their husband and ending a cycle of poverty and abuse.

Nigeria is also not left behind in the quest to achieve full rights for widows.

Recently, the Abdul Samad Rabiu Initiative for Africa (ASR Africa), in commemoration of the 2024 International Widows’ Day, recently presented a N10 million grant to the International Women’s Society (IWS) in Lagos.

Ubon Udoh, managing director and chief executive officer of ASR Africa announced this donation during a Widows and Empowerment Feast organised by IWS in Lagos, Nigeria. The grant is part of ASR Africa’s ongoing efforts to invest in social development as one of its primary areas of focus.

Speaking at the event, Adeola Adebanke, the chairperson of the Widows’ Trust Fund of IWS, expressed her utmost joy and satisfaction toward the grant donated to the organization by the Chairman of ASR Africa and the BUA group, Abdul Samad Rabiu. In her statement, she prayed that the chairman continues to make giant strides and break new boundaries.

“Today we are here to empower our widows and to have a feast with them. This is a yearly programme we do and on this day, we make our widows feel loved. We give them food, dance with them and we make them feel happy. We are going to empower them with different tools for them to start different businesses.

“The essence of this is to make them independent and able to stand on their own, to take care of their children and families. We do all of these through the Widow’s Trust Fund. BUA Group is one of our main sponsors for today’s event and we want to say a big thank you to them for their support.

“We hope that we will continue to collaborate with the BUA Group for all other events that we are going to be having. We are going to empower about 250 widows with tools such as sewing machines, grinding machines, POS machines, provision items for the widows to sell and catering materials.

“For some, we are going to augment their working capital. They would be given some cash. We will also be giving out freezers and coolers to those that are interested in selling drinks,” Adebanke said.

According to her, in the last two weeks the Widows’ Trust Fund of IWS, have been interviewing the women to know what they would like to do.

She said the women go through the process before they are selected, adding that through the interview, they are able to determine the kind of businesses that they are able to do or the ones that are doing businesses but lack capital.

During a goodwill message, Udoh appreciated the good job done so far by the International Women Society since its establishment in 1957. He mentioned that the grant is a testament of the commitment of the Chairman of ASR Africa and the BUA group at improving the livelihoods and welfare of Nigerians.

He added that the grant, which will be distributed to widows in partnership with IWS, is aimed at bringing relief to the beneficiaries while ensuring its relevance and sustainability.

The high point of the event was the presentation of the grant to the beneficiaries. In addition, 250 widows received palliative care packs from BUA Foods Plc which comprise rice, pasta, edible oil and semolina. The widows who were visibly grateful, expressed their gratitude to ASR Africa, its chairman and executives of BUA Foods Plc for the timely palliative care packs received.

Dame Olabisi Alokolaro, the 67th President of International Women Society, Nigeria said widows generally are often neglected and not looked after.

Alokolaro said at IWS, they empower widows with what they need to work with such as sewing machines, generators, grinding machines, and coolers.

She said through this support, these women will be able to send their children to school and be well respected in the society.