HSF trains widows on entrepreneurship skills, gives starter packs
As part of Hope Soars Foundation for Women’s programme towards financial independence of widows viz-a-viz celebrating the 2019 IWD, eight widows were trained on how to make soap and germicides. After the training, a start-up kit which included the chemicals needed to make a 25-litre keg of soap was also given to the widows.
According to the Founder of Hope Soars for Widows, Folasade Johnson “The Non-Governmental Organisation remains committed to providing support for widows to be self reliant and sufficient, adding that she looks forward to a time when these already empowered widows will be self-reliant enough to also empower more widows like them.
As part of the 2019 celebrations, Hope Soars Foundation for Widows (HSFW), an Ibadan based NGO, empowered women through a training in the production of cleaning agents.
According to the United Nations, the theme for the 2019 IWD celebration is “Think equal, build smart and innovate for change.” The theme will focus on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.”
For many Nigerian widows, widowhood is a traumatic experience. Many of them have to live with financial constraints, cultural demands, psychological challenges, as well as the burden of raising their children alone. These make it difficult for many widows to recover from the loss of their husbands while also increasing the gender imbalance in the society.
Increasing gender equality is central to the work that Hope Soars Foundation for Widows does. This is done through medical outreaches, empowerment trainings as well as the provision of soft loans for widows to build small businesses.
“Asides many cultural taboos associated with widowhood, it also means the loss of financial power for many widows,” explains Folasade Johnson, the founder of Hope Soars for Widows who also lost her husband 13 years ago. Despite the challenges that came with widowhood, she was able to start her life again because she had skills in the confectionery business. Equipped with those skills and a N15,000 loan, she was able to turn her life around. This is not the same for many Nigerian widows. Johnson believes that through empowerment trainings many of the women will have additional sources of income to cater for themselves and their children, so they can become financially independent.
These empowerment trainings go a long way towards advancing gender equality in the society because the widows are financially empowered to not only meet their personal needs, support their children but also contribute to societal development.
Ajayi Abosede lost her husband nineteen years ago after a brief illness. Since then, the burden of raising her four children has rested squarely on her shoulders without support from anyone.
“I have had to do different odd jobs from selling second-hand clothes, to selling pure water, to being a housekeeper to see my children through school. They are not done yet, so the struggle continues. This is why I am here to learn this soap making. Maybe I can add it to the list of items that I am selling,” Ajayi says, optimistic that the training will have a positive impact on her finances.
Taiwo Bayode was 44 when her husband died in 2015. They had five daughters, all between 11 and 17. She has been solely responsible for the care of her children since her husband died.
“My husband’s family declined responsibility for them because they were all girls. At times, we do not have food to eat, but we continue. God’s will will surely come to pass. Everything that comes my way, I will do it to survive—selling petty things, clothes, and anything that comes my way. So this training on soap making will be added to it,” Bayode says that it will be an added source of income.
“That is the purpose of empowerment. So that they can pay it forward. Widows can in turn support other widows,” Johnson says.