To ensure that widows become self-sufficient and better equipped to take care of their families and in turn grow the economy, the Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation (AAAF), and other stakeholders have called for better welfare packages.
They made this known at the 10th anniversary lecture of the foundation, held recently, at the Commerce House, in Lagos with the theme: ‘Widow’s Economic Empowerment Through Gender Analysis Lens’.
The president of the foundation, Deacon Wale Afolabi, decried the attention given to widows in the society, noting that it was still very abysmal.
According to him, “empowering a widow will go a long way in making our society better. The rate at which widows are emerging due to increase in death amongst the male folk is alarming.
“These women are most times left alone to fend for themselves and their children. It is usually a cumbersome task for them to surmount. At AAAF, we accommodate these women, pay the school fees of their children and also train them with skills that will make them self-sustaining.
“We also give them grants for them to start up their various businesses. These gestures will help in improving the economy. This is because a woman multiplies whatever is given to her and widows have been known to be very prudent in managing the resources given to them.”
He recalled when the foundation started 10 years ago to give hope and succour to the less privileged in the society in line with the philanthropic outlook of his mother, Alhaja Ayisatu Ajoke Afolabi.
So far, he said the foundation has kept her dreams alive through various intervention programmes such as payment of school fees for indigent students, empowerment for women and widows through skill acquisition, training and SMEs funding, free rural medical treatment, pilgrimage sponsorship, among others.
The former Deputy Governor of Lagos, Mrs. Sarah Susan, affirmed that the continued support that AAAF has given to widows has not gone unnoticed.
While urging them to continue the good work she said: “You have continued to touch lives despite the fact that you are a lone financier of the foundation.”
First Lady of Ogun State, Mrs. Olufunsho Amosun, who was represented by the wife of the Commissioner of the Environment, Mrs. Oyeleye Okeowo, noted that the partnership between her foundation; Uplift Development Initiative, and AAAF which started few years ago has yielded great benefits.
“The foundation, has through their various intervention programmes, been a true friend for widows along life’s journey,” she said.
Wife of the former Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, who was represented by Aderonke Oguntoyinbo, urged all Nigerians to support widows around them to alleviate their sufferings, adding that the AAAF is on course with her widow programmes because it is yielding the desired dividends.
The Executive Coordinator, AAAF, Mrs. Foluke Ademokun said in the last 10 years, thousands of widows and their children have benefitted from its various social intervention programmes, adding that the testimonies from the beneficiaries have propelled them to do more.