To honour a pledge in continuation of efforts to rehabilitate and resettle the Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) in the Northeast region, Chairman of the Aliko Dangote Foundation, Aliko Dangote, Saturday empowered 200 widows with start-up capital of N100,000 each, a mobile phone and new SIM card, to enable the beneficiaries pick up their livelihoods and provide for their families and dependents.
Saturday’s event, which took place at the Dangote Village Housing Estate, Dalori, Maiduguri in Borno State, also saw each of the 200 widows going home with an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card, to enable them access funds from an account which the Foundation had opened and credited with the N100,000.
The empowerment move, which was applauded by the beneficiaries and the Borno State Government, followed a pledge made by Dangote in June this year, when 200 housing units of the Dangote Village Housing Estate which he built for the IDPs in Maiduguri, Borno State were commissioned, with award letters issued to the chosen beneficiaries – mostly widows with dependents.
Aside the Dangote housing estate, the Foundation, headed by Ms. Zouera Youssoufou, had also committed to providing additional supports in the forms of a cash grant of N100,000.00 each to the 200 widows that benefitted from the housing units; to support with the operational costs of the school in the estate for the next five years; and to continue to support the State Government with its schools reconstruction efforts across the state.
Yesterday’s event at the Dangote Village in Dalori was attended by Dangote, who was represented by the Programmes Operations Manager, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Musa Bala; the Permanent Secretary of the Borno State Ministry of Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Engr. Abba Yusuf, and anchored by the coordinator of the Dangote Village, Barrister Yusuf Shettima.
Bala, while speaking to the beneficiaries who gathered in front of the school to welcome and thank the ADF delegation, brought greetings from Aliko Dangote and charged the widows to make judicious use of the start-up funds for income-generating activities to help sustain themselves and their families.
The Permanent Secretary commended Dangote and urged him not to relent in his efforts to empower the widows. Yusuf also told the beneficiaries to consider themselves lucky because, according to him, “there are many women and widows in Borno and other IDP camps who don’t have houses or any means of improving their livelihoods.”
While thanking Dangote and the Borno state government, one of the widows, Esther Ishiaku, expressed joy at being both a house owner in the Dangote Village and for the start-up capital. Ishiaku, who has six children (3 boys and 3 girls) said she plans to invest the funds in agriculture, particularly maize farming, to enable her cater for her children.
The beneficiaries were each given an ATM. Card, a mobile phone and a SIM card as startup support from the Aliko Dangote Foundation. Their biometric data were taken instantly for SIM registration, after which they are expected to visit the bank for linking to their accounts to access the funds.
The widows were chosen across ethnic, religious and geographical divides. The startup support also coincides with the Foundation’s plan to pay for teachers’ salaries, students’ uniforms, teaching and writing materials, plus text and exercise books for the school located in the Dangote Village for the next five years.