Wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode on Monday observed that no society can thrive in an atmosphere where widows and the less privileged are continuously ignored and schemed out of welfare calculations, just as she said that all hands must be on deck to put premium on the welfare of the vulnerable members of the society.
Mrs. Ambode, who spoke at the Banquet Hall, Lagos House, Ikeja during an empowerment programme for widows, mothers with multiple births and medical support for the less privileged, said societies can only thrive when the burden on widows are made lighter and the less privileged are assisted in a number of ways to live better lives, and thereby called for deliberate efforts to alleviate their sufferings.
No fewer than 32 widows, 14 parents with multiple births and five non-governmental organisations in the vanguard of helping the less privileged were empowered at the programme.
The programme was put together by Mrs Ambode in conjunction with a non-governmental organization, Hope for Women Foundation (HOFOWEM).
Speaking at the event, she said the empowerment initiative was principally put together in order to assuage the conditions of the less privileged and thereby put smiles on their faces.
She stressed that the condition of widowhood is a bitter pill that no woman wants to swallow, but that in such situation, both the government and members of the society must make the welfare of such people a concern, and work towards alleviating their plight.
She said though the African society sometimes help in such situation, but that such help are always not enough to wipe the tears from the face of the widow, who she noted must have been left to only take care of the feeding and upkeep of the house, paying school fees and other pressing needs, as well as the pressure from the late husband’s family.
“We also have women, who in their quest to fulfill their marital role of procreation and motherhood, were blessed with multiple babies in a single birth. This, in most cases, is more than their moderate expectation of one baby or maximum of two and what is supposed to be a blessing now becomes a concern for the family,” Mrs. Ambode said.
She urged widows to also be gainfully employed, said the fact of the matter also was that they must take the issue of economic empowerment seriously either by taking up a regular paid job or engaging in vocational skills that would generate regular income to meet their vital needs.
She assured that the state government, through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) would be readily available to assist widows and less privileged in that direction, and urged them to take advantage of the many vocational training centres of the Ministry located across the state.
HOFOWEM Convener, Mrs Adeleke Oyefunke on her part, said the empowerment programme was put together after a careful study of the trend in the society by the Foundation whereby it was discovered that enough help was not coming for the widows and the less privileged.
She thanked Mrs. Ambode for partnering with the Foundation to bring joy and happiness to the vulnerable in the society, adding: “We are eternally grateful to her Excellency for her kind and humane disposition towards the people of the state, especially women and children.”