For the love of orphans, aged, Onwueme-Willians goes humanitarian
To create a platform for widows, orphans and the elderly, A Nigerian-born Mrs Catherine Onwueme-Williams, over the weekend, officially began a journey towards building an orphanage as well as a place for the care of the elderly people in Nigeria.
Although she has a passion for putting smiles on the faces of people, especially the less privileged, she said the need to build a structure, where they can be adequately taken care of, was driven by the ugly sight of young, indigent children in the streets.
For this reason, a Foundation named Women Alliance for Purposeful Leadership, for which she is the President General was officially launched on Saturday in Abuja. The event attracted Nigerians from across religious and ethnic divides, who came to support her towards the actualization of her dreams.
According to her, the project will begin in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and a community in Aniocha South Local Government Area – Ubulu-Uku, where she came from.
“The last time I visited Nigeria, I saw children begging for food in the street; that touched me, and I felt it was time to get them a place they can call home and bring together, people of like-minds, who will take care of them and show them love.
“First, we are going to start from FCT and Ubulu-Uku in Delta State, which is my home town but we are extending the project to the six geo-political zones of the country.”
Onwueme-Williams stated that beyond the orphanage, the Foundation would be building homes for the elderly. She assured me that even if it means renting a place temporarily to make them comfortable, her foundation is ready to do so.
Also speaking, the Secretary General of the Foundation, Barrister Helen Obi-Okere, stated that the Foundation has brought together noble women from across the country, who share a common purpose, which was to make life easier for everybody.
“We focus on the less-privileged, widows and orphans and we are here to solicit the assistance of Nigerians to enable us to actualize these goals.”
Adding: “We touch lives in every sphere of humanity including abuse of children by their parents. We touch lives wherever lives need to be touched.”
Earlier, the chairman of the occasion, Dr Mafon Inuara, who was represented by Haruna Garba, commended the President General of the Foundation for the laudable initiative. He was particularly impressed that beyond conceiving the idea, Onwueme-Williams had taken a bold step towards implementation.
According to him, a lot of people have conceived such ideas in the past but lacked the will to implement them, adding that in spite of the socio-economic challenges confronting Nigerians, she has remained resolute in her determination to answer the call to care for the aged, orphans and the less privileged in the society across faith and ethnic boundaries.
“What you are doing can be compared to the works of churches and mosques because the founders of those religions shared one thing in common and that was care for humanity. We all see the needy every day as we go about our normal duties seeking assistance but she has taken a step to help them.”
While applauding the efforts of Onwueme-Williams, he called on well-meaning Nigerians to lend their support to make the project a reality so that every state of the federation can feel the impact of the foundation.
Speaking, former National Women Leader, All Progressives Congress (APC), Hajia Salamatu Baiwa Umar-Eluma, while expressing dissatisfaction with the way the society ignores the orphans and the needy, stressed that they also need love and affection. “They also want to have a sense of belonging”, she added.
She, therefore, called on Nigerians to always attend to the needy because everyone will someday get old. “That was the reason Onwueme-Williams came down from the United States.”
She also commended other members of the Foundation who have gathered from various parts of the country, stressing that while some of them need care, they have shown selflessness by trying to care for others. She further pledged to support the Foundation in any way possible.
Also at the forum were former Director, Directorate of State Service (DSS), Barrister Mike Ejiofor; APC chieftain in Delta State, Fruitful Mekwuye and the Vice President, Ubulu-Uku Descendant Union (UDU), Mr. Clifford B. Ofunne.
Other activities include an awards presentation, the official inauguration of the Foundation as well as cutting of the inauguration cake.
The President General of the Foundation, Onwueme-Williams disclosed that about N3.8 billion was required to fully implement the project.