Enugu: The Women Centre for Self Empowerment and Development (WOCSED), an NGO, has tasked widows on economic empowerment and financial savings in-order to raise their economic status and meet demands of children up-bringing.
The Executive Director of WOCSED, Mrs Onyeka Obi, gave the task on Saturday while addressing widows during the NGO’s commemoration of International Widows Day in Enugu.
Obi noted that economic empowerment, which widows should conceive and get committed to, remained a sure way of addressing poverty and injustice faced by millions of widows and their dependents in many homes in the country.
According to her, the widowhood condition exposes women to psychological and physical abuse as well as a whole range of health related problems including HIV/AIDS.
She said: “They face varying degrees of difficulties and untold hardships even though they tend to suffer in silence in most cases.
“For many Nigerian widows, they live not only with psychological challenges, financial constraints and the burden of raising their children alone but also with the cultural demands of widowhood.
“In most parts of the states, widows are deprived of benefiting from the inheritance of their late husband’s especially with the absence of a will.
“Other challenges widows face in the society range from traditional, economic, emotional and mental to spiritual problems.
“They also have difficulties engaging in social interactions and poor housing to mention but a few. Others include violation of widows’ right: defacement, dethronement, forced levirate marriage, disinheritance and denial of the right of dignity and equality.”
In a lecture titled: “Speak Out Against Inhuman Treatment”, Mrs Nnemaka Ilodigwe, a lawyer, urged widows to learn how to speak out against injustice against them on time and “not to die in silence”.
Ilodigwe, who is with the Faculty of Law, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, urged widows to seek quick legal redress through free legal services from female lawyers if they felt maltreated or not given their due right to their husband’s belongings.
“The law is here to protect everybody and the widows should know that they have serious protection from the law against harmful cultural practices and inhuman treatment,” she said.
In another lecture titled: “Widows Financial Independence’’ by Mr Matthew Kalu, a Business Consultant, advised women to strive to be creative and get committed in a form of financial empowerment.
Kalu urged them to explore the options of cooperative societies; having a good saving culture and “having good business idea orientation by ensuring they are not lazy but make good use of both their time and financial opportunity”.
The event also featured how to plant yams in bags and cervical cancer screening for all the widows present.
WOCSED also gave out lots of wrappers and ready-made cloths to the widows as well.
The International Widows Day is commemorated every June 23 to draw attention to the voices of widows, highlight the problem they face and galvanise the support that they need.
This year’s theme is “Sustainable Solutions for Widows Financial Independence”. (Flowerbudnews)