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COVID-19: Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, Alakija, Duke, others urge widows to embrace new opportunities

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Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has advised widows to embrace opportunities that have presented themselves. Photo: TWITTER/JOKESANWOOLU

Wife of Lagos State Governor and Grand Matron of the Rose of Sharon Foundation, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has advised widows to embrace opportunities that have presented themselves in agriculture, innovation and also utilise their talents during the COVID-19 pandemic as it has ushered in a new way of life.    
She made the call at a virtual event via Zoom platform held to commemorate the International Widows’ Day organised by the Rose of Sharon Foundation.

Speaking at the event with the theme ‘Global Change: Widowhood and COVID-19, The Challenges and Opportunities,’ Sanwoolu encouraged widows to be bold and stressed the need for women to be self-independent, as this would help to place their families on a better social-economic pedestal.

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Similarly, Founder, of the foundation, Mrs. Folorunso Alakija encouraged the widows to see the current COVID-19 socio-economic situation in the country and the world as an opportunity to be explored.                                                            

She said: “Though the COVID-19 pandemic has caused untold hardships and loss of revenue for individuals and businesses, some people, as well as businesses, are recording tremendous profits during this period.     

“It is our joint responsibility to see that no widow or orphan experiences discrimination of any sort by virtue of the fact that they have lost their spouse or father.”

Guest speaker and Country Director of Empretec Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Onari Duke advised the widows to see the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic as opportunities in disguise.    

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She said: “It looks like a gloomy situation but there are opportunities that exist. The person who finds a solution creates value and becomes a benefit to society. She encouraged the widows to explore new forms of business especially through the use of technology. 

The Chief Executive Officer, Sophia ERP Limited, Mr. Conrad Adigwe educated the widows on the need to leverage technology as the advent of COVID-19 has impacted the way business was done previously. 

He said: “Traditional thinking can no longer take us to where we want to be. The rules have changed. There is no playbook for the times that we live in right now. Everybody is inventing and reinventing themselves through technology, widows likewise must do the same.”

Speaking at the event, a widow, Mrs. Daramola Ebun, who spoke on behalf of the ROSF widows in the South-West zone stated that some of the challenges experienced by widows during the COVID-19 lockdown has been the lack of food and shelter.  

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Ebun noted that widows are also experiencing financial challenges as those who were employees have lost their jobs, while others who are entrepreneurs could not sell their wares due to the lockdown.  

She added that the pandemic has adversely affected widows psychologically, emotionally, health-wise and relationally. 

At the event, widows who were able to take advantage of the lockdown to make a profit also shared their testimonies. 

Mrs. Helen Egbochie, a registered ROSF widow, spoke on how she excelled in business during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

She said: “I am into soap making but during this period, I started making hand sanitisers which is one of the preventive measures advised by the government. I also employed social media platforms on my mobile phone to advertise it to my customers.”  

Egbochie encouraged widows to be bold and creative in business. Furthermore, she appealed to government and other stakeholders to support widows as they combat life’s challenges.

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