Foundation, experts canvass better welfare package for widows

L-R:Foluke Ademokun, Executive Coordinator, Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation; Sarah Sosan, former Deputy Governor of Lagos State; Dr. Wale Afolabi, President, Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation and Dr. Fola Rogers-Saliu, Executive Director, Human Resources and Administration during the AAAF’s tenth anniversary lecture and celebration in Lagos.

To make widows become self-sufficient and better equipped to take care of their families and in turn grow the economy, the Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation (AAAF) and other experts comprising of Sarah Sosan, former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Olufunsho Amosun, First Lady, Ogun State, Abimbola Fashola, former First Lady, Lagos State, SIFAX Group and other NGOS have advocated for better welfare packages for them from both the public and private institutions in Nigeria.

Their position was made known at the special tenth anniversary lecture of the Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation which was held at the Commerce House, Victoria Island, Lagos with the theme: Widow's Economic Empowerment Through Gender Analysis Lens.

Deacon Wale Afolabi, President, Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation, at the programme noted that attention given to widows in the society is still at its lowest ebb. He explained that one of the cardinal focal point of the Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation is to empower widows.

He said: “Empowering a widow will go a long way in making our society better. The rate at which widows are emerging due to the alarming rate of death among men is alarming. These women are most times left alone to fend for themselves and their children and also pay bills. It is usually a cumbersome task for them to surmount. At AAAF, we accommodate these women, pay the school fees of their children and also train them with skills that will make them self-sustaining. We also give them grants for them to start up their various businesses.”

“These gestures will help in improving the economy. This is because a women multiplies whatever is given to her and widows have been known to be very prudent in managing the resources given to them.”

The AAAF President also added: “Ten years ago, we began a journey to give hope and succor to the less privileged in the society in line with the philanthropic outlook of our beloved mother, Alhaja Ayisatu Ajoke Afolabi. The Foundation has kept the dreams of our beloved mother alive through various intervention programmes ranging from school fees payment for indigent students, empowerment for women and widows through skill acquisition training and SMEs funding, free rural medical treatment, pilgrimage sponsorship among others.”

On her part, Mrs. Sarah Sosan, former Deputy Governor of Lagos, noted that the continued support that AAAF has given to widows have not gone unnoticed. 

“The continued support you have given to widows and other less privileged in the society have brought me here today. You have continued to touch lives despite the fact that you are a lone financier of the foundation. I urge you to continue this good work”, she said.

In similar manner, Mrs. Olufunsho Amosun, First Lady, Ogun State, who was represented by Mrs. Oyeleye Okeowo, explained that the partnership between her foundation Uplift Development Initiative and AAAF which started few years ago has yielded great benefits. 

“We started a partnership with the AAAF few years ago and today, we have together touched various lives in Abeokuta and other states. I am happy that the foundation is waxing strong. The saying that God is the husband of the widow, is true. However AAAF has through their various intervention programmes, been a true friend for widows along life’s journey”, she noted. 

Aderonke Oguntoyinbo, representative of Abimbola Fashola, urged all Nigerians to support widows around them to alleviate their sufferings. The AAAF is on course with her widow programmes because it is yielding the desired dividends.

Foluke Ademokun, Executive Coordinator, AAAF, in her address, hinted that in the foundation’s 10 years, thousands of widows and their children have benefitted from its various social intervention programmes. 

She added that the testimonies from the beneficiaries have propelled them to do more. 

Dr. Fola Rogers-Saliu, Executive Director, SIFAX Group, who represented Dr. Taiwo Afolabi (MON), Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group assured that widows that SIFAX group will not relent in making the plight of the widows better in Nigeria. 

“Plans are now at an advanced stage to establish AAAF in the South East so that we can reach more women and other less privileged. AAAF’s presence in the South-West and the North has added great value to the country. We will keep striving to put smiles on their face through improved intervention packages,” she said.

Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation is a non-governmental organization established by SIFAX Group to cater for the less privileged in the society through various social intervention programmes such as school fees support for indigent students, medical support, skill acquisition programme for widows, small scale business financing, medical outreach and others aimed at bringing succor to the less privileged in Nigeria.