As countries round the globe marked the 2018 International Women’s Day, an international organisation, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), in collaboration with the Wanda Adu Foundation (WAF), has changed the stories of few struggling women by supporting them to chart a new course. REGINA OTOKPA was there
International Women’s Day (IWD), is a day set aside every March 8 centuries ago, to acknowledge, celebrate and appreciate the social, cultural, economic and political achievement of women. It is also a day for collective action and shared ownership for accelerating gender parity and a day to truly Press for Progress to make a positive difference for women.
The British Government in its IWD message noted that 57 per cent of women in Nigeria feel unable to support themselves compared to 47 per cent of men.
According to the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, there was an urgent need for development policies to champion quality girls’ education, training, protection and empowerment of the poorest and most vulnerable girls to get the skills they need to get good jobs, build successful careers and have a choice over their futures.
However, domestic and international governments need the support of Nongovernmental Organizations, the church and individuals no matter how little, to achieve the mandate of transforming the lives of women and girls to reduce poverty and increase stability in any nation of the world.
It was against this backdrop that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) in collaboration with the Wanda Adu Foundation (WAF), reached out to empower some struggling ladies after completion of its skills acquisition training.
One of the beneficiaries of a brand new industrial sewing machine , Mrs Choji Penwinah, an indigene of Plateau State residing in Apo, has been confronted with the huge difficulty of catering for her family with the meagre business of sewing with outdated sewing machines which according to her, could manage to produce just one dress within a day.
Widowed with three children, she excitedly told Inside Abuja that the new machine would enable an expansion of her business of eight years which was presently in her room, to better support her family.
“The industrial machine is a plus to what I have been doing over time and I intend to put it in to use as soon as I get it. It sews faster; it has about five multiple functions like zigzag, button holes unlike the ones I have which has just one function. It will help me to expand my capacity. I didn’t know it was on her mind, I never discussed it with her but it’s a desire in my heart and somehow God used her to fulfill it. I am so grateful.
“I was unable to meet up with a lot of work last year during the festive period because I had limited capacity but with this, I can make at least three clothes in a day whereas the other one is one dress per day,” she said.
Since she finished secondary school in 2009, 27-year-old Blessing Aguba has not had anything meaningful to do. After an extensive training on catering, the foundation made available to her, all basic catering equipment, including a gas cooker and cake mixer to enable her achieve positive results in life.
Blessing, who told Inside Abuja her mother was late and her father was a retired civil servant, noted that, “we were up to 17 in my catering class and I am short of words. I intend to start a business with it. I also have plans of continuing with my education and so, with the little I can get from this, I should be able to personally fund my education.
This is a blessing to me and my family.”
On her part, Blessing Ezeugo received a scholarship from WAF/AHF, to successfully complete her education, in addition to a makeup and fashion designing training.
The undergraduate of Administration and Planning with the University of Abuja, lamented that though willing, her parents lacked the capacity to help her achieve her dreams and aspirations.
“My father is a retired civil servant. My mother is a petty trader. I have the determination to be educated and since I came in contact with WAF last year, they have been helping me achieve that by sponsoring every part of my education. I intend to make use of my skills to setup a business to further help me advance in life.”
According to the founder WAF, Wanda Ebe, the organization with AHF have been able to train and empower over 72 women and girls, including former sex workers, single mothers, school dropouts and widows.
“We have trained 72 women between November and February 28 this year and we have selected a few of them to empower them in their various skills. Some who have the skills set, we helped improve on their skills.
“We are giving out everything to start sewing, baking and makeup such as: industrial sewing machine, gas cooker, cake mixer, baking pans, makeup kit and so much more,” she added.
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