The Rays of Hope Support Initiative (ROHSI), a non-governmental organisaton has proffered solution to the plights of widows and single mothers in Nigeria, following the difficult challenges they face after the death of their spouses.
This was made known in a paper presented by Oyeronke Olorunfemi, director at ROHSI during a programme organised recently by Heart For Widows International, a charity organisaton, to commemorate the United Nations (UN) International Day 2021 held at Alagbaka in Akure, Ondo State with theme: “Invisible Woman, Invisible Problem”.

Olorunfemi said that in the course of her community work, she noticed that more of women especially, older women are having high blood pressure than their male counterparts as majority are widows, handed over the mantle of family leadership without much preparation after the death of their husbands.
She therefore, prays that, God should continue to protect the men as they go out daily, not to die young as not to relinquish the mantle of family leadership to the woman should such suddenly happens.

“We know the loss of a partner is devastating. For many of our women around the world especially in developing countries such as ours, the loss is magnified by a long-term struggle for their basic needs, their rights and dignity”, Olorunfemi said.

She stressed on what befalls the woman should she loose her husband to include evicted from their homes or physically abused, or where their social status is linked to that of their husband’s and such husband passed on suddenly without a solid plan, what would happen to the health of such a widow?

Olorunfemi lamented that such a widow among other things have to accept unwillingly what nature has brought to her because of the children, unwarranted conditions from their husband relatives, social norms, which results in many women dying prematurely.

“So we can all imagine how burning this issue is? I have this question, should our women identity be defined by their husband or should be viewed on their own merits?” she asked.

To this end, she suggested ways by which government and society must improve the lives of widows, single women and their families to include:

“We must come up with poverty-reduction strategies like access to credit or other economic resources and provide educational opportunities for our widows and their children to make life easier.

“Our widows should have unlimited rights to their husband inheritance or land ownership under the law of the land.

“Violence towards widows must be stopped and it has to be now.

“We must all advocate for equitable access to healthcare for our widows. They must not be denied such an opportunity.

“We must them secure against economic insecurity stemming from widowhood that has driven some of our widows and girls to sex work.

“We must keep talking to authorities to take action to uphold their commitment to ensuring the rights of the widows as enshrined in our laws and conventions.

“Let us keep advocating for programmes and policies for ending violence against widows and their children.

She concluded that the above would make life more meaningful to widows, as the health and the wellbeing of their children would not be an issue anymore, because these solutions if implemented would have taken care of those needs.

Eelier in their welcome addresses, Prince Adetayo Adesida and Mrs. Britt Schulze Adesida expressed the gratitude that God had used them to reach out to widows across Africa and the world at large by empowering them, so that they can fend for themselves on the event of the loose of their husbands.
“God has been able to help spread our tentacles to some countries in Africa as well where we have been able to reach out to the widows in Rwanda, Kenya, Lesotho, Seychelles, Uganda to mention but a few.
“We thank God that we did not only give widows fishes to survive on, but also teach them how to fish through various vocational developmental schemes, which empowers the widow to be self-reliant and self-sufficient to the point that their product which is been displayed at this event, is not only sold in the country, but also shipped out of other countries so that it becomes an economic empowerment for our widows.”
“God has been so faithful to the point that we are able to establish this foundation in the USA, The Netherlands, Germany, India, Nigeria, Tanzania and Bulgaria.
Dignitaries at the event include The Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade Adelusi represented by Chief Aro of Akure kingdom accompanied by some chiefs from the palace; delegation from the Ondo State government, which included Mrs. Olubunmi Ademosu, Special Adviser to the Ondo State government on Intergovernmental Relation and Oluwafemi Dennis Fadairo, Director of Administration to the Senate President of Nigeria, Ahmed Lawan.

First Published By Dispatch News Online

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