Friends, well-wishers and club members trooped out in large numbers to honour one of their own at an event that signal a change of insignia and investiture ceremony of Annette Oke as 18th president of Soroptimist International of Ikeja.
Soroptimist is an international women’s voluntary services organisation working to improve the lives of women and girls at local, national and international levels. Founded over a century ago, it is an organisation that is set out inspire women to action and transforming lives.
In a speech by the Lagos State First Lady, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode she said she was excited to be in the midst of these eminent women of philanthropists who have remained the pride of women throughout the world. The organisation she noted “has contributed in no small measure to uplift fellow women and girls even in the smallest countries of the world. Like other such great humanitarian organisations, they have continued to use their expansive global network, to positively impact the lives of women and girls, leaving indelible imprint in all areas of their lives. Its effort cannot be over-emphasised.”
Their influence Ambode stressed is profound in the areas of education and healthcare of girl-child welfare and empowerment of women, health advocacy as they believe all these are general advancement of their fundamental human right just as club has consistently remained a dominant force in feminine philanthropy quietly transforming the lives of hundreds of thousands of less privileged girls and women in the country.
Speaking on Domestic Violence against Women, guest speaker and publisher of Working Mom, Mrs. Mary Ikokwu, said it is high time all hands be on deck to erase this danger against women. According to her, violence goes beyond physical as there are unseen abuses such as psychological and emotional abuses that destroy self-esteem of the person involved.
Enumerating eight points that make you realise that you are going to through abuse, which cuts across women of all ages., Ikokwu pointed out that this occurs when women are being degraded by their partners, when you are being blamed for everything that goes wrong, when a woman is treated like a piece of furniture, when you are forced to put your partner’s needs before you. This is a wrong premise because a stressed out woman will raise a stressed family. Therefore, women need a comfortable home to exist.
“The scares these abuses have on women go from generation to generation. When one in three children are married out as a child bride, women are sold into slavery as either sex slave or labourer, there is time for action.” Ikokwu asked if you know any women going through violence, “rise and help solve the problem because every woman deserves honour and respect,” she concluded.
While commending the club for their commitment and passion by giving out their time to help the needy especially those who don’t have a voice, the chairman of the occasion, Mr. Bamidele Mafimidiwo, said the network of these great women’s effort in impacting lives through dedication and time cannot be overemphasised. He congratulated the new president whom he knows has the tenacity as a hardworking woman that she will deliver. Mafimidiwo said he has no doubt that with undiluted support of her executive members she will excel.
Thanking the newly installed president, the outgoing president, Mrs. Oluwagbemiga Benson expressed her gratitude to her members who donated generously to the purse of the club, which enabled them to carry out some advocacy programmes during her tenure.
In her acceptance speech, the newly installed president, Annette Oke thanked her members for their support. Recalling how her mother died of cervical cancer and watched how she fought till the end, she said she quickly realised her desire to serve others to seek a way in which she could feed that urge to always help humanity since she relocated from United Kingdom to Nigeria in 2010. Although the main focus of the club is to advance the status of women, girl-child and children with its theme: Enable, Empower ad Educate, Oke promised to focus on these over the next two years of her tenure.
Soliciting the support of her members in kind and cash, Oke said without a kind hearted support, it would not be possible to raise over five million Naira needed for the forthcoming lifesaving works. She pleaded passionately to her fellow members to donate generously, as they collectively need to help eradicate poverty, educate, provide healthcare, and most importantly assist to help resolve sexual violence and rape against women.