Connecting Women, Children to Opportunities

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The African Community Bridge Foundation recently organised a ceremony where it empowered over 100 Nigerians from different backgrounds, including Internally Displaced Persons, with cash grants totalling N10 million. Alex Enumah, who witnessed the ceremony, reports   

The late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” This philosophy is at the heart of the mission of African Community Bridge Foundation (ACBF). For 18 years, ACBF has been moving women and children out of poverty through education programmes, family support services, and entrepreneurship initiatives. In line with this mission, it organised an occasion on August 16 in Abuja to empower over 100 Nigerians, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), with cash grants totalling N10 million.

Beneficiaries  

Abubakar Mustapha is one of the hundreds of people, mainly from the most remote areas of Nigeria, whose lives have been transformed by ACBF. He said, “I am very grateful to African Community Bridge Foundation for this show of love. I promise to ensure that I and my colleagues will make judicious use of the grant for the good of our families and nation, Nigeria.” 

 

 Seeds of Hope

 

Sadly, millions more are suffering in Nigeria and inequality has reached an unprecedented level. While the vast majority of Nigerians are gifted hard workers with the desire and ability to succeed, like Chidinma Aguoru, scores of others are not given an opportunity due to poverty, poor education, and little or no access to basic essentials to live a productive life. 

Nigeria’s unemployment rate is projected to be 14.2 per cent in Quarter one (Q1) 2018 according to a Trading Economics poll.

According to the TE survey, 88 per cent of total users expect the value to drop from the previous release while 13 per cent of participants estimate an increase.

All Nigerians deserve and desire to have an opportunity to prosper. To this end, ACBF believes that by sowing seeds of hope in women and young people and giving them the tools to advance, we can transform communities across Nigeria. Community by community, ACBF is connecting strong women and their children to resources to start and build their own businesses and care for their lives ones. 

Presently, ACBF has trained over 20,000 entrepreneurs from its inception with over 8,000 local farmers, 4,000 artisans and skilled workers, 2,000 local fashion designers and IT professionals. 

 The foundation has also embarked on medical outreach at Kuje and Kwali Local Government Areas in Abuja, Nigeria where students were rendered free medical services. 

While ACBF sees the aforementioned as laudable steps in the right direction, it said it was not going to rest on its laurels. Many observers believe that in as much as the federal government is doing its utmost with available resources, citizens and stakeholders need to make concerted efforts in scaling up the work of ACBF in communities across Nigeria. 

 

Goals for the Future 

 

Its goals over the next 10 years include: To generate multi-million dollars for investment in new businesses and scalable solutions to reducing poverty, distribute multi-million dollars in food, clothing and supplies to families with the greatest need in villages across the country through its grassroots skills acquisition programme, and to educate children and families to prepare them for life changing businesses and leadership. 

An African adage says: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” That is the reason ACBF is calling on all to help it go far and to be part of the bridge to hope and opportunity for the forgotten Nigerians who urgently need our help. 

 

Empowerment Drive

 

At the latest empowerment programme in Abuja, over 100 people were empowered with grants running into N10 million by ACBF. The foundation partnering a United States-based organisation, said it is poised to helping young Nigerians to grow, assuring that the grants are not meant to be repaid. It however disclosed that it would ensure strict monitoring such that the monies would be used for the intended purpose.

Speaking at the empowerment ceremony, president of the foundation, Mrs. Oge Nwosu-Irono, said that ACBF is committed to helping young Nigerians and the less privileged, find their footing in the economic sector as well as up their game such that they can be an inspiration to others. She stated that the foundation came to Nigeria with their US business partners, whom they have encouraged to take advantage of business opportunities in the country to invest, adding that the programme would be beneficial to all.

 

While presenting the financial empowerment tool to the beneficiaries, the ACBF president explained that the beneficiaries drawn from IDPs in Abuja and other places, were trained on catering, hairdressing, tailoring, bead making, shoe making, poultry, fish farming, and others.

She also disclosed that the foundation set aside N10 million for the over 100 beneficiaries, assuring that the banks that partnered the foundation would always be there to support the businesses opened by the beneficiaries.

She commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank of Industry (BoI), ministries, and other stakeholders in the skills acquisition for their support in achieving a transformed future.