Foundation empowers over 500 widows in Ebonyi, other states

No fewer than 500 widows and orphans across the country received raw food items, cash and income-generating equipment to start-up their businesses during the yuletide season.

The gifts were from the Saint Raphael Support Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, founded by Patricia Olayinka Aboyeji. The special event was held in four different regions including Lagos, Ebonyi, and two towns in Kwara State.

Speaking at the occasion tagged, ‘Christmas for Widows’ Aboyeji said the gesture was to put a smile on the faces of widows who do not have the hope of celebrating Christmas.

According to her, the organisation named after Raphael Otunola Aboyeji aimed to help widows and orphans become financially independent and educated through schemes that foster self-esteem and social integration.

She said, “The NGO has embarked on a series of empowerment programs for widowed women, ranging from providing them with skills acquisition training like soap making, fascinators and hat making etc. They were all supplied with a startup kit.

“Some of them were provided with Income generating equipment like sewing machines, pepper grinders, outdoor cooking gas and cylinders, as a means of empowerment. By teaching people how to fish rather than just giving them fish we aimed to create a cycle of wealth that is connected with empowerment, ultimately breaking the cycle of poverty within our community.”

On the agenda of the foundation, Aboyeji disclosed that the foundation was established to serve as a place of refuge for widows and orphans and alleviate the plight of widows by standing as their voice and creating awareness of the injustice and discrimination that widows face globally.

“I got the idea of the foundation through a vision. Having been through the journey of widowhood since 1995, I gladly embraced the vision because I saw it as a challenge. Having to look back at what I have been through in the past years of my widowhood journey, I wanted to be able to give back to society, as one of the ways of thanking God.

“I am already familiar with the concerns of God about the widows as indicated in some of the Bible scriptures. Especially, in the book of James 1:27 which says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after Orphans and Widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. Since the inception of the NGO, it has had over 500 beneficiaries of economic, social and financial development. The NGO has been able to give financial empowerment to over 100 widows.”

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