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Rose of Sharon Foundation advocates for Widows’ Rights with its Widows’ Rights Program

Lagos, Nigeria. October 11,2023. In keeping with its vision of promoting widows’ rights and attaining a more equitable and just society for Nigerian widows, Rose of Sharon Foundation (ROSF), a leading non-governmental organization in Nigeria has held its bi-annual widows rights stakeholders’ sensitization and advocacy program, titled Widowhood Rights Program (WRP), in Igbogbo/Baiyeku Local Council Development Authority (LCDA), Lagos recently.

The program, which is the second edition for the year, had in attendance several community leaders, gatekeepers, and stakeholders, such as the Iyalode of Igbogbo, High Chief Karimot Ojikutu, Iyaloja of Igbogbo, Mrs Obayomi, Chief Imam of Igbogbo Central Mosque, IMAM Sanni H.O, a representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Yinka Ogunlaye, and key government officials from both the local and state levels, including law makers, HOD and supervisor Igbogbo Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Obayomi Mariam,  S.A. Health, Igbogbo LCDA, Super Tourism and Special Duties representative; Mr Oshinlaja D. Aina, H.O.D Agric, Ikorodu; Mr Ibraheem A.I., and Mr Jimoh W. Adekunle, who represented the Leader of the house and the executive Chairman of Igbogbo LCDA.

Speaking at the occasion, Barrister Ijeoma Olatunbonsun, the Protection Officer, Patriotic Citizen Initiative, emphasized the crucial importance of respecting and ensuring the rights of widows for their well-being within our society. She encouraged widows to understand the laws that protect them, noting that these laws are fundamental in fighting for their rights, including the right to inherit their late husband’s assets.

While urging the participants to look out for widows in their environment and help stop the barbaric acts and practices widows are made to go through, after the demise of their husbands, she further suggestedd that stakeholders can collaborate with ROSF through the WRP. According to her, WRP has continued to advocate for the upliftment of Nigerian widows through active engagement with stakeholders at the grassroots while discouraging discrimination and violent practices targeted at widows.

Speaking during the event, Dr Ndudi Bowei, the Country Manager of the Rose of Sharon Foundation, advocated for widows’ rights, stating that this is one of the missions of the foundation, and the reason while WRP was created. Dr Bowei called on stakeholders to sign the commitment banner as a demonstration of their support to protect widows.

She stated that the foundation was already taking steps to partner with the government and other non-governmental agencies in protecting the right of widows, who traditionally are victims of harmful cultural practices in our society.

One of the beneficiaries of the Foundation, Mrs Adeleke shared her story of how she struggled to raise her children and her ordeal at the hands of in-laws following the death of her husband.

Mrs Folake Williams, who is another beneficiary of ROSF recounted the impact the Foundation has made in easing their plights, through educational scholarships for their children and provision of interest-free loans, emphasizing that ROSF has continued to alleviate the challenges faced by widows in Nigeria while also empowering them.

In her remarks, the Iyalode of Igbogbo, High Chief Karimot Ojikutu commended the Rose of Sharon Foundation for its numerous projects geared towards the economic upliftment of widows. She encouraged the widows to keep their hopes in God above all things, as the one who is able to take care of them.

The representative of the Leader of the House, Mr Jimoh Adekunle appreciated the foundation for her efforts in reducing the burden of widows and requested that more should also be done for orphans’, as captured in the Foundation’s mission and objectives. Adekunle emphasized the need to also take care of orphans, and raise them properly, to avoid lack of parental care, and the risk of them becoming nuisances to the community, which in turn affects the nation at large.

The IMAM, IMAM Sanni prayed for the widows, and commended their strength for holding on and keeping the forte, even after their husband’s death. Sanni stated that there is a reward and special crown for them for being strong and unwavering in their faith and devotion to God.

The meeting was brought to a successful end with the signing of the commitment banner, by every community leader that was present at the event.

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