Stories by Rebecca Ejifoma
Mrs Toyin Saraki, founder of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, recently reached out to Mrs. Risikat Abdulwasiu, the blue-eyed wife and mother, who was rejected by her husband and his family for having blue eyes alongside her two children.
Having read of her plight, she extended succor to the family through her Alaafia Kwara Initiative.
Saraki, a former First Lady of Kwara State, who doubles as the wife of the immediate former President of the Senate, had her team of community midwives and women leaders visit Risikat and her children at their residence.
Risikat was visibly overjoyed to receive her first high-level visitors, who came bearing an empowerment grant of N250,000 from Mrs Saraki, aimed as financial support to enable her children’s immediate return to education, and ease her burden of care as she considers her options.
It is recalled that Risikat’s story of matrimonial rejection due to her unique eye coloration had gone viral across Nigeria, and onlookers were not surprised that Mrs Saraki stepped in to recognise her predicament, and proffer immediate assistance, given her foundation’s enduring maternal and child health and welfare programs across the state.
At the empowerment and palliative visit, Mrs Saraki who was represented by the WBFA Lead Midwife Mrs Patricia Komolafe and several Alaafia Kwara Women Leaders state’s that “charity begins at home – This week we visited a baby celebration, and also responded to the urgent concerns of Risikat and her children, a lovely family with unique blue eyes in Ilorin, Kwara State, providing an immediate grant to ease their burdens and allow her two young children to return to education.”
“I was also very happy, as I ended our World Breastfeeding Week activities across Nigeria through my @wellbeingafrica’s MamaCare360 Community Midwifery Program, to launch our new global initiative to help mothers with NICU infants establish early and exclusive breastfeeding through learning about mouth care, kangaroo care, and expressing and pumping mother’s own milk, which will help millions of Nigerian preemies to survive and thrive.
“I am honouring the frontline women leaders in my life, because I could not embark on my philanthropy without an army of support. I appreciate my midwives, who have welcomed over 80 babies into the loving embrace of new and nursing mums across Nigeria this week.
“I want to recognise the women leaders of my enduring Alaafia Kwara Initiative, who have taken the time to respond to community needs, to empower, to alleviate poverty, in both conflict resolutions and celebrations alike, consistently for 16 years. You are my eyes, ears, interlocutors and ambassadors of goodwill, leading with compassion; charity begins at home, and I appreciate you all”.
The Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s Alaafia Kwara Empowerment Initiative was established in Kwara State by Mrs Saraki as First Lady from 2004 to 2011, and is widely credited with positively influencing Kwara State’s enviable ranking as having the lowest under-5 mortality in Nigeria as rated by UNICEF.
It has uniquely continued to grow beyond the borders of Kwara State, impacting positively on the lives of Nigerians from the cradle to age, with a wide range of programs in maternity care services, EmONC healthworker training, youth skills acquisition, women’s participation in leadership, inter-faith understanding and peacebuilding, the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence, environment and ecology actions, alongside disaster response and relief palliatives.