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Int’l Women Society holds yearly luncheon, empowers widows

By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
19 November 2022   |   4:06 am
As part of efforts to advance women and children’s issues in Nigeria, the International Women’s Society (IWS) has held its yearly November luncheon aimed at raising funds to run its projects.

As part of efforts to advance women and children’s issues in Nigeria, the International Women’s Society (IWS) has held its yearly November luncheon aimed at raising funds to run its projects.

In its 65th year, the projects include a Day Nursery, which has been running since the inception of the organisation; scholarship schemes; home for abandoned children running for 13 years; a skills acquisition centre which has been on since 1999 and a widows trust fund set up in 2000.

Speaking at the luncheon, which held last weekend in Lagos, the President of IWS, Ifeoma Monye, said the projects were initiated at different points to give back to society.

“Widows go through a lot and asides from losing their husbands and dealing with the whole mental anguish, most of them do not have any skill set, have never worked in their lives and they have to fend for their children. So, what we do is first of all counsel them so they can deal with their loss, then we empower them and sometimes give scholarship to their children to go to school. This is encapsulated in our widows trust fund,” she said.

While noting that the projects were not Lagos-based, she explained: “At different times, we have done different programmes that are outside of Lagos. We have been to the IDP camps and now with the floods, we have given to victims. Majority of us are in Lagos but that does not limit our exposure, we go to places when the need arises.”

On funding, Monye noted that any amount raised would be used to cater for the projects, adding that “the organisation is constantly in need of funds.”

“We have a day nursery running and it is highly subsidised, so we need money to run this. Right now, we have five children at our home for abandoned children. We are trying to get them adopted; we are working with the Ogun State government so they can be in permanent homes. This is our way of giving back,” she added.

Monye, who is the 65th president of the association, stressed that her core project were Chess for girls, STEM programme for girls and mentoring for girls.

“For each of them, we are training 200 girls in underserved communities. We went to Yaba and Lekki communities; we spoke to the Bales and other community leaders that they should give us girls who will come to our centres once a week and then we train and feed them and ensure they have skill set to compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world,” she said.

While charging women to be change agents, she noted: “Women should be able to help those that need help. It is important that as you are doing well, you remember the less privileged because we all know the economy has been hard on a lot of people and so means a lot to them no matter how little. It is important that we lift up families, communities and the world in our little way.”