Shola Mese Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) dedicated to empowering youths, drug addicts and women in the society, on Wednesday empowered over two hundred widows across Delta state, even as it calls on the Federal Government to empower more widows.
Founder of the NGO, Mr Shola Mese, who addressed journalists on the sideline said he decided to empower the widows to celebrate International Widows Day which took place on June 23rd, adding that it is his small way of contributing to the happiness of widows in the state.
He said one of the reasons why he decided to celebrate World Widows Day with some widows in the state was to show them that they were not alone in their struggle.
“We want to let them know that the world has not forgotten them even though they have lost their husbands. I believe this is one the reasons why the world has set aside this day for them. This year’s theme is “Upholding the Human Rights of Widows, the Law and its Culture.”
“This year we lectured them on their rights as widows when they are been oppressed by the families of their late husband. This is why are celebrating with them today,” Mese said.
According to Mese, the foundation distributed wrappers and food items to the widows, adding that the widows also got free medical check up and free treatment for those that had malaria and other illnesses.
He advised the widows to always stay strong to take care of the children left behind by their husbands and also to move ahead saying there are better days ahead for them in the future.
Mese, who is also a security expert, said it was very important that the Federal Government devised means to assists widows in the country, noting that this would to curb crime in the society.
He said most drug addicts and criminals found roaming the streets were children of widows who could not take care of them, stressing that the only way they can get them off the streets was to empower their widowed mothers so that they can take care of their children.
“One of the ways we can reduce crime rates in the country is to address the issue of drug addicts in the society. But if you are handling only the addicts and you are leaving their mothers, most of them who are widows, behind, it means you have not done anything.
“In our encounter with most of these youths who we have rehabilitated, we discover that most of them were into crime because their mothers could not cater for them. Some of them tell us that they go into crime to help their mothers take care of the family.
“So my appeal is that the government of the day should device a means to assist these widows. We all should not neglect the widows in our society because they are living among us,” Mese said.
Also, Mrs Gloria Oghene, who addressed the widows during the occasion advised them not to give up in life saying that with determination widows can achieve what they set their minds to achieve.
Mrs Oghene who has been a widow for over twenty years and a mother of six children, told the widows that she knows how difficult it is for widows because she is a living witness.
“As a widow I know the pains you are going through because I have passed through that challenges too. No matter what your situation is you can still stand up on your feets again. You don’t really have to fight too hard because the responsibility of taking care of the children has fallen upon you now. You have to make sure that the children succeed in life because that is the only thing that can bring back the joy you have lost as a women,” she said.
Some of the beneficiaries who spoke to BusinessDay expressed their joy and happiness for what Shola Mese Foundation has done in their lives praying for God to continue to bless him to do more.
A physically challenged widow, Mrs Beauty Aminigo, told BusinessDay that what the foundation has done for her and her family cannot be expressed, calling on other NGOs to emulate Shola Mese Foundation.
Another physically challenged widow, Mrs Vivian Iziboron who is a mother of one, said, “When I came here they carried out different test on us and they gave us drugs for malaria. Apart from all these he also gave us wrappers and mosquito nets to protect us from mosquitoes that is causing malaria because of our dirty environment.
“This is not the first time Shola Mese has been doing this for us. This is the second time he is taking care of us. We are very happy for this gesture that is why I am praying to God to give him long life so that he can continue to do what he is doing for us.”