Members, Board of Trustees Rose of Sharon Foundation.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press
It is indeed my pleasure to welcome you all to the beginning of a line of events as I speak on behalf of the Chairman and Board of Trustees of the Rose of Sharon Foundation.
We are excited to announce that our Foundation is 10th years old and we are immensely grateful to God for all He has used us to accomplish in the lives of our widows, their children and Orphans. This Foundation commenced from a divine call by God in James 1:27, instructing me to assist His widows and Orphans. The celebration of this grace has now begun.
Throwing light on what we do as an organisation, our work is predominantly focused on alleviating the plight of these vulnerable groups of people. Our programmes provide financial independence and educational support to tertiary level, or vocational training as the need arises.
A journey that started with three (3) widows on 23rd May 2008, has empowered over 3000 widows through vocational skills acquisition and awarded scholarships to 1,366 widow’s children and 86 orphans. The loans to widows are interest free and the scholarships have no conditions attached. We have also provided accommodation for residential and business purposes for 82 widows. Furthermore, in conjunction with our partners, we have provided free healthcare checkups and free legal services to our widows and orphans at various times.
Many amazing things have happened since we started in 2008. God has used us to touch their lives in ways they never thought of nor imagined. Many a tear has been wiped away, many a sorrow has been transformed into laughter, inferiority has been changed to confidence, poverty has been transformed into economic independence and many children have been taken off the streets and into classrooms.
Our successes are wrapped around the different empowerment programs we offer our beneficiaries such as:
i. Enterprise Development and Skills Acquisition program:
Here we provide vocational skills to the widows who have become principal providers for their families.
ii. RoSF Micro Credit Scheme:
The RoSF Micro Credit Scheme is a powerful tool that has been employed to lift widows above the poverty line. In the last 10 years, the businesses of over 1000 widows has been strengthened through non-interest loans with flexible repayment plans and this in turn has increased their earning capacities.
iii. RoSF Scholarship Scheme:
As I mentioned earlier, we currently have a total number of 1366 children on our scholarship scheme. This makes us the number one private NGO with the highest number of internally funded educational scholarships to university level awarded to students in Nigeria. Our beneficiaries are spread across over 300 schools throughout Nigeria from Nursery/primary schools, secondary schools and tertiary institutions. Since 2008 till date, a total of 11 widows and 137 widows’ children and orphans have graduated from various higher institutions across the country and have successfully become the Rose of Sharon Foundation Alumni.
iv. Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP):
Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP) is the Foundation’s career development and capacity building programme. It is targeted at graduates and undergraduates, job seekers, working class and self-employed youths of the Foundation. YEP is tailor-made to prepare our youths to be self-reliant so that they can support their families and become useful to the society. The programme has resulted in raising a special group of young people who are eager to make history in their generation. They are not only embracing entrepreneurship, but they are also creating jobs for others to fill the gap of unemployment in our society. Therefore, some job seekers among them are fast becoming employers of labour.
v. RoSF Welfare Scheme (RoWS):
RoSF Welfare Scheme (RoWS) has done so much to intervene in the daily struggles and many challenges faced by our beneficiaries. Our orphans are provided with house rents so that they are not thrown out into the streets by landlords. Monthly up-keep allowances are also given to the orphans and our elderly widows who have no one to support them.
Some of our widows whose houses or shops were razed by fire or demolished for whatever reason were provided with the necessary support to help them get back on their feet.
The activities lined up to celebrate our 10th anniversary include:
• This press conference which we are having today
• A charity walk on Saturday 16th June to help raise awareness on the plight of widows and orphans
• Finally, we will culminate the 10th anniversary celebration on the 23rd of June and as always, also join the world to mark the International Widows Day.
We are happy to announce the Rose of Sharon Foundation will be increasing the number of its beneficiaries by another 350 before year end. Out of this number, 100 will be empowered during our celebration and award on 23rd June.
I feel tremendously privileged to be a part of this vision and really elated at the commitment shown by the Chairman and Board of Trustees of the Foundation for the furtherance of our work and goals. It has indeed been a walk of faith, victory and celebration. We have seen lives transformed and stories changed from helplessness to hopefulness, from weakness to strength and from fear to courage. God has continued to be faithful.
Once again, on behalf of our very committed Board of Trustees, I thank everyone who has been a part of this journey leading up to the past 10 years: all our partners and the press, our extremely hardworking administrative staff without whom we would not have gotten this far. I look forward to the next 10 years and encourage us to join hands together to “reach out and touch” our world and make it a better place for every widow, their children and orphans who have ever had cause to cry.
Thank you and God bless you.