Karis and Eleos Foundation empowers 400 widows in Lagos
An appeal has gone to the Federal Government and policymakers to create an enabling environment for widows in the country, by addressing their plights when making policies to improve their lives.
Mrs. Bukola Bamiduro, Founder, Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation made this appeal at an event organised in Lagos, to celebrate 2021 International Widows’ Day themed ‘invisible women, invisible problem.’
Bamiduro noted that often times when widows navigate their grief, they also face economic insecurity, discrimination, stigmatisation, and harmful traditional practices. And oftentimes, widows become invisible to society.
Highlighting other challenges widows face, Bamiduro said: “People don’t actually know what they are going through as they are even neglected. Some ethnic groups usually deny them some privileges, they become an object of inheritance, and they feel they are worthless and abandoned, with their children.”
She urged the government and policymakers to address the plight of widows as a policy they will consider when making decisions.
She also charged non-governmental organisations to endeavour to come to the aid of widows to mitigate the effect of these challenges and improve the lives of widows.
Part of the programme of Karis and Eleos foundation, according to her, is to ensure that widows are properly taken care of. And so, the foundation decided to commemorate International Widows’ Day with the rest of the world by empowering widows in different skills.
Although International Widows’ Day is marked every June 23, Bamiduro explained that the shift in date by the organisation was to be able to gather funds to empower the widows that attended their training.
About 400 widows were empowered with startup kits areas including makeup, baking, tailoring, household, and catering, among others at the event, which was held at the premises of the Bible Society of Nigeria, Palmgroove Estate, Lagos.
80 of them who already started their businesses were empowered with equipment to help them increase their capacity and income.
The event was not all about empowerment as other speakers gave short talks on different areas of their lives, such as health, finance, legal, and coping with life generally.
Sharing how she managed to raise five children after the death of her husband 17 years ago, Mrs. George Modupe, a Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) retiree, gave tips on how to cope with widowhood.
She charged the widows to avoid begging but rather put themselves together, get something doing that can fetch them income to be able to pay their and children’s bills.
“After your husband’s death, what next? She asked.
“Are you going to continue begging from friends, and family members? You can’t just wait in pity for someone to come. The moment you start that, you become the talk of the town. Deal with your in-laws with the sense and wisdom of God. You must be ready to be working hard. Finally, look unto God, the author, and finisher of your life”. She said.
Another speaker, Regina Ogbodo, a broadcast journalist of over two decades, and also a widow of seven years, spoke on mental well-being for women.
The mother of four and two grandchildren advised the widows to accept their situation as a first step to dealing with their mental health.
She also charged them on spending within their means and also eating well.
She said: “First, accept the situation. That is how to deal with mental health. Spend within your limit. Eat well”.
Also, a Legal Practitioner and a human rights Lawyer with 17 years of practice, Oluwayemisi Adesina, advised them on how to go through widowhood challenges without going to court.
“Don’t be blinded so much by your Rights. Watch the environment that you are in. Customary laws are still working against women. Before your daughters get married, they should first go to the court registry before the customary marriage. Be wise. Tell your husband to do a WILL while alive”, she counseled”
Dr. Yetunde Ayo Oyalowo, CEO, of Market Doctors, while giving a health talk, told the women to stay healthy to be able to move forward.
“Take care of your children. Mind your blood pressure, and sugar level. Check fibroid by going to the hospital. Dress well”. She said.
She also warned them of in-take of herbal drugs without prescription.
All the women who attended the event were given free breast and cervical screening to ensure they were in good health.
Karis and Eleos Hand of Hope Foundation is a non-profit Organisation with a focus on empowering women and girls, especially in rural communities where it is minimal or no access to opportunities that can drastically improve their livelihoods.