17,000 widows to benefit from clegyman, Ashimolowo’s empowerment programme
The initiative is a pet project of the founder of Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC), Mathew Ashimolowo, and his wife Yemisi, which is already in its 12th year. The initiative is designed to celebrate the widows who are often castigated, segregated and subjected to inhuman conditions in the society instead of recognizing their potentials and helping them move on with life after the death of their spouse.
Speaking with The Guardian in Lagos yesterday to announce his plans for the annual charity, Ashimolowo alongside the National Superintendent of KICC Nigeria, Femi Faseru, and the church administrator, Lara Odebumi, said the 12th empowerment programme will be significant this year because of the number of beneficiaries.
“The charity started as a very simple desire. I have been in England for almost 34 years but I began to come to Nigeria more often 15 years ago and I became very burdened to do something in the town of my father’s birth. We founded Kings University there, but I felt I needed to be able to touch individual lives so, God laid it on my heart to do something for widows and this is based on the scripture which says that we should not neglect widows and the fatherless.
“I started initially with about 308 widows who responded the first time we put a call out, and I saw how successful it was and was encouraged to continue. It continued to grow until last year, which we thought was a record breaker when we had 10,000 widows. I thought we might have 12,000 this year, only for us to be approached by various widows’ groups that came with 16,800 names which Modakeke alone have 4000.
One may wonder how we are able to get the actual number of widows in the area. We knock at every door to write the name of widows and they have to be acknowledged by the head of the family but since we cannot be going about knocking peoples door and accrediting compounds in the town we don’t belong to. We insisted that the monarch in each town accredit widows, so, the king of Osogbo, Ikire and other towns we are reaching out to submitted the names; we don’t want a woman who is not a widow to smuggle her name in since it is free clothing and cash.
Answering question on how much he and his wife are spending on the widows and how they will continue to sustain the charity, he said, “we spend between N55m and N57m. I have asked myself the question on how I am going to continue to sustain it and I have said that I would need to do an honest appraisal after this one; there’s going to be a metamorphosis where I am going to focus on my primary calling which is Christ to rural nation. To do things bigger than widows; to have more impact; the one that will not exclude gender, age groups and will still have as much impact as this one. I am challenging everyone to reach out to people, especially the widows. You can start with 200 people and others will do the same
Ashimolowo while stating his contribution to the youths said he gave out scholarship to students when the Kings University opened. He advised the Nigerian youths to stop looking at the government for things they could do to create employment. My tailor read statistics in the university but decided to look inward and started sowing. If you can’t anything from the top, go to the bottom because there are opportunities there.
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