The Hope for Women in Nigeria Initiative (HOFOWEM), an initiative of Mrs Bolanle Ambode, wife of the Lagos State Governor, on Thursday empowered 103 widows to sustain their means of livelihood.
Ambode said at the empowerment programme in Lagos that the life of widow, especially a young one, was never enviable.
She said that the overall objective of the programme was to ensure that they were able to live happily and depend more on themselves after the death of their husbands.
The governor’s wife said that beneficiaries were divided into three categories, one of them being those that required skill acquisition — relatively young widows.
She said that the other beneficiaries were those that required equipment support to stabilise their businesses and widows that required financial assistance to expand their businesses.
“After careful analysis, we realised that though all the widows need support, the same type of assistance cannot work for everyone because of age differences and circumstances around them,” Ambode said.
She said that it was also the objective of the programme to properly educate and enlighten the women on their matrimonial rights under the law.
According to her, one cannot pretend to be ignorant of the cultural and social problems that women face upon the death of their husbands and in accessing whatever is left behind by their loved ones.
Ambode urged the beneficiaries to make the best use of benefits of the programme, more importantly, the education on self reliance, economic empowerment and rights education.
“It is an opportunity to help you rely on yourselves, rather than on external sources,” she said.
Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of HOFOWEM, Ms Oyefunke Adeleke, said that the programme was in commemoration of this year’s International Widows Day, held every June 23.
She said that millions of widows endure extreme poverty, homelessness, among others, while their situations often go unnoticed and are not captured by demographic statistics and humanitarian programmes.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the widows got materials including deep freezers, generating sets, whipping machines, industrial gas cookers, grinding machines and bag sewing machines.