By GEORGE OKOJIE
Wife of Lagos State governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, on Thursday lamented the plights of widows in the country heightened by the current economic downturn in the country, saying she was moved to empower 103 widows in Lagos State through her pet project, Hope for Women in Nigeria Initiative (HOFOWEM).
Speaking at an event held in Lagos to hand over the empowerment materials to the beneficiaries, Mrs. Ambode lamented the challenge faced by widows in the country, pointing out that the overall objective was to ensure that the women were able to live happily, depending more on themselves upon the death of their husbands.
She added that the Foundation was doing this to further compliment the robust programmes the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode Administration for women and children in the areas of economic empowerment, rights protection, health and education, among others.
According to her, the widows needed urgent support and therefore empowered them with skill acquisition in fashion designing, catering, tailoring, bead making, hair- dressing, soap making, among others.
The governor’s wife also gave out several equipment support, including deep freezers, refrigerators, generators, shipping machines, industrial gas, cookers, professional cameras, photocopiers, grinding machines, among others to the widows who were categorised into three.
The categories include, those that require skill acquisition for relatively young widows; those that require equipment support to stablise their businesses and those that require financial assistance to expand their businesses.
She observed that though the widows needed support, but the same type of assistance could not work for everyone because of age differences and circumstances around them.
Mrs. Ambode said the Foundation decided that it would be best to train younger widows for them to have particular skills that could rely upon to generate regular income by themselves.
“As a result, the relatively young widows will be trained in skills of their choice and would be supported with equipment upon graduation, while equipment support and financial assistance will be given to the other two categories of women,” she said.
Mrs. Ambode also promised payment of monthly allowances to those that would be going for the skill acquisition.
“It is also the objective of this programme to properly educate and enlighten the women on their matrimonial rights under the law. We cannot pretend to be ignorant of the cultural and social problems that women face upon the death of their husbands, including accessing whatever was left behind by their beloved ones.
“To properly enlighten and advise them on the legal steps to take for redress is the reason we included the rights education segment in this programme,” Mrs. Ambode added.