The current economic situation seems to be taking toll on most families with increasing number of broken homes and social vices. Muritala Ayinla writes on how ‘Hope for Women in Nigeria Initiative’ (HOFOWEM) is touching lives and strengthening parenthood through interventions
Meeting responsibilities at homes for most fathers nowadays is daunting especially with the existing inflation rate without a corresponding income or cash flow. Today in most families, most fathers no longer shoulder the whole responsibilities of providing food, paying house rents, children’s school fees, electricity bills, water bills and provision of other house needs including taking care of other responsibilities from the in-laws. Their income is either shrinking or loosing value due to ever-increasing responsibilities, which keep the family going. In some instances, where the mothers are also gainfully employed or self-employed, the responsibilities are shared with the fathers for smooth running of such families.
The responsibilities could either be 40:60 or 30:70 ratios with men taking the higher percentage. Sometimes it could be shared equally depending on the mutual agreement between the couple. And in most cases the economic situation could make some of the men abdicate their responsibilities for their wives which explain why broken homes are on the increases and why street hawking may never be eradicated as population of women who need their children to support them through hawking to make ends meet rises.
This is what validates the saying that there are more men in town but less responsible fathers who are ready to shoulder responsibilities that defines a typical African man. Hence, reason for increasing number of dropouts, teenage pregnancy, under rubbers, miscreants and other children who take to social vices due to broken homes. But to fill the yawning gaps of responsibilities of most families, the HOFOWEM is an initiative of wife of the Lagos State governor, Mrs Bolanle Ambode.
Mrs. Ambode is taking the bull by the horn through provision of the needs of most families particularly those seriously threatened by poverty and whose family bounds are constantly endangered by lack of resources. Through the foundation’s interventions, men who could have probably absconded from homes and deserted their pregnant wives upon hearing news of multiple deliveries of twins, triplet or more were brought back homes with offers of assistance ranging from payment of the hospital bills and financial support to cater for the newly born babies. Some of the fathers also got employment.
With the HOFOWEM’s involvement in the Lagos maternal mortality reduction campaign and health interventions, hundreds of expectant mothers who could have possibly lost their lives due to lack of resources to attend the orthodox medical facilities are now happy with their babies as many of them were not only sensitized and empowered but also provided with maternity packs. A total number of 175,000 school pupils from poor family background were also provided with shoes, socks, bags, books and other materials to boost their enrolment and academic performances through the foundation’s initiative tagged “Project Bright Steps.”
The move, according to Mrs Ambode, was meant to boost their self-esteem, help them appreciate their self-worth, encourage them to be proud of themselves and most importantly equip them. She said aside the positive impact such would have on the education of the pupils and encourage local production of shoes, thereby boost the economy.
The Governor’s wife said as most children are dropping out of schools due to poverty, the few of them who are still interested in education and whose parent could not afford the basic school acces-sories need to be assisted across the state’s public primary schools. Speaking during the presentation of the shoes recently, she said: “Unfortunately, walking without shoes has led many children to get sick, lose their feet to bacterial infections and other life-threatening diseases. It is essential for these children to wear shoes. Wearing shoes is not a luxury, but a necessity.
“As a mother, I am deeply passionate about children. Some lucky ones have the necessary support, while others have very little support of nothing. HOFOWEM realizes that many children do not have the opportunity to wear ordinary shoes. Yet, this is something that we take for granted.
“Properly equipping our children for school plays a great role in boosting their confidence level, morale, concentration and overall performance. To reduce the suffering of the widows and other related challenges in a cosmopolitan city such as Lagos, 103 widows across age category, got financial assistance, equipment support or skills training programme organised by the HOFEWEM. During the empowerment programme which captured the entire 57 Local Government and Local Council Development Areas, items like deep freezers, refrigerators, generators, sewing machines, industrial gas, cookers, professional cameras, photocopiers, grinding machines, among others were given to the widows who were categorised into three.
The categories include those that require skills acquisition (relatively young widows); those that require equipment support to stablise their businesses and those that require financial assistance to expand their businesses. This, she explained was in line with the foundation’s mission of which seeks to impact the lives of underprivileged women, widows and expectant mothers by providing avenues to build their capacity through education, skill acquisition and financial empowerment. According to her, HOFOWEM was primarily concerned with uplifting the welfare of widows, aged women, children and supporting the needy, as well as general feminine issues.
Children with hole in the heart, women who need surgery and other serious health challenges were also assisted by the foundation. Speaking on the foundation’s life-changing gesture, Mrs Celestina Osundiya, a widow, noted that that the intervention would go a long way to not only bring families together but also giving hope to the people who had lost hope.
She described the foundation’s thoughtfulness, kindness and passion to improve the welfare of the less privileged as commendable. The widow, who also called on other nongovernmental organization to emulate HOFOWEM, saying that the society will have less social challenges if the privileged come together to assist the vulnerable ones. But assuring of more life-changing interventions, the Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, Mrs Oyefunke Oyeleke said that the charity organization which was essentially established to cater to the needs of indigent members of the society in 2015 would remain committed to uplifting the welfare of widows, aged women, children and supporting the needy, as well as general feminine issues.
“HOFOWEM is primarily concerned with It has supported and empowered many women, children, babies, elderly and sick ones since its inauguration. We envision a community where indigent members are capable, confident and financially independent. Our mission is to impact the lives of the vulnerable through relevant and sustainable education, entrepreneurship training, mentoring and the required economic and social empowerment to enable them achieve their goals and aspirations,” she said.
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