Funmi Ogundare writes that the Dorcas Benevolent Foundation has been giving succour to widows and less-privileged children for the past 21 years
For 21 years, the Dorcas Benevolent Foundation(DBF) has been giving succour and caring for widows and less-priviledged children in the society and one way through which the foundation allows them to drink from its milk of human kindness is through its the annual Christmas and new year party.
This year’s programme which held recently at Lafiaji Community Centre, Lagos Island, witnessed the distribution of gifts items such as clothes and clothing materials, cups, plates, vacuum flasks, branded umbrellas, T-shirts, exercise books and pens, shoes, scandals and raw foods, among others to about 220 widows and their children who turned out to savour the joy of the day.
The Coordinator of the Foundation, Mrs. Theresa Atai Sappor, said the programme was designed to give them a bearing particularly after the loss of their husbands, noting that this is something that can be very traumatic.
“I believe that we can give them succour by assisting them. Some of them are lonely so we try to give them that moral support, and even mobilise public bodies and individuals, associates to support them as well as encourage the donors to support them with funds during their monthly meetings.”
She expressed delight that the children and widows always look forward to the party. “To tell you how eagerly the widows await this annual event, they often troop in as early as nine o’clock in the morning, yet the party doesn’t kick off until 2p.m.”
Aside the annual Christmas and New Year party, Sappor said that other ways the foundation reaches out to them is through scholarship awards.
Her husband Mr. Abiola Sappor who corroborated her said, “we started a micro-credit scheme, but the only challenge we have had is really with the people. Some of them find it difficult to refund the money. Over the years, we were giving them interest-free for a period of six months. This we do for those of them who are petty traders. We have been exploring ways whereby organisations give us their product to distribute to them.”
Asked on the impact of the programme on the widows in the last 21 years, Sappor said, “some of them have been able to look after their families much more than they were doing before, some of them have also been able to keep their children in school and see them through education with the support they get from us. But we help them support their homes and families.”
He said their driving force behind the programme in the last 21years has been love adding, “I believe that whatever talent that God has given you, you are meant to give back. The love of one’s country should be an essential of our existence to impact others. It is the impact that gives joy.”
He however expressed concern that he is yet to see a Nigerian leader that is articulating his thoughts to impacts lives of the people like Chief Obafemi Awolowo saying, “today the ordinary person cannot afford good health and education because it cost a lot of money.”
On where he sees the foundation in the next five years, Sappor said, “we hope that our children will be able to pick up, but one of them; the eldest of my children has started something like this in Ife three years ago by giving support to less-priviledged children at the end of every long vacation. We try to impact in them the spirit of giving back.”
Some of the widows at the programme thanked the foundation for their support over the years saying that its efforts have gone a long way in putting smiles on their faces and alleviate their suffering.
One of the oldest members of the foundation and a widow, Mrs. Funmi Ogunnaya said since she joined 17 years ago, the impact has been immense as her children were given scholarships which saw them through their education.