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Joy as victims support fund uplifts Ga’anda widows

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Widows and aged women from Ga’anda, a remote village about 40 kilometres from Gombi, the Headquarters of Gombi Local Council of Adamawa State, had reasons to smile recently when the Victims Support Fund (VSF) visited their domain.

The VSF team, which was led by its executive director, Prof. Sunday Ocheche, penultimate Wednesday, arrived the dusty village surrounded by mountains to meet with the women numbering hundreds.Ocheche, who informed his forlorn audience that the VSF has been working since 2015 to administer support services to victims of insurgency in the North East, explained that some of the main objectives of the body is to restore the livelihoods of victims of insurgency; enhance agro-based interventions, and facilitate the introduction of foster care programmes for orphans and vulnerable children.

He stated further that grants were also given to hospitals to help them respond to medical needs of victims, create psycho-social support for affected children, carry out reconstruction of public buildings, and facilitate peace-building and to improve education in the insurgent-ravaged North East.

Ocheche, who specifically told his hosts that the team was in Ga’anda village to flag-off the 2019 Women Economic Empowerment Cash Distribution Project, explained that the project was aimed at supporting women who are economically active, and have skills that can be translated to income generation, in order to restore their livelihoods.

The VSF boss said that the project was designed to ensure that widows who lost their husbands as a result of the insurgency have the means to train their children.Ocheche said that 2, 000 women in the state would get N50, 000 each to enable them start a trade of their choice, adding that to restore their hopes, the VSF would always be there to support them when they need help.

“The beneficiaries will be assisted with N50, 000 cash intervention in two tranches; they will receive N30, 000 each in the first tranche, and after we have monitored the impact of the first tranche, those that perform well will get the second tranche,” he stated.

While handing over the withdrawal booklets to the beneficiaries, the executive director warned that the money should be strictly used for the businesses, which they are trained in, and not for the purchase of new clothes.A representative of the Chairman of VSF, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd), Mrs. Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, told the beneficiaries that the only way for them to be assured of a great life tomorrow was to invest in the education of their children, especially their daughters, stressing that parent benefit from educating their female children more than the male children.

“When you educate a girl, you have lifted the entire society out of poverty. Since women are mothers, they take care of anybody that has problems; not just their parents, but the entire society benefits from girls’ education.Toyosi, who advised women that lost their husbands to the insurgency not to allow the unfortunate situation to weigh them down, but see their status as single parents as a challenge that they must overcome in order to encourage their children to move forward.

A 17-year-old widow, and mother of two, Patience Jonathan, told The Guardian that her husband was killed by Boko Haram insurgents in 2014, and that since she relocated to Anjakara, a village before Ga’anda village, she and her children survived by working on peoples’ farms.Patience who wept uncontrollably said, “I’ve suffered so much to sustain my two kids. The VSF intervention has rejuvenated my children and I. I will make good use of the money. The beneficiaries sang and danced in appreciation to what the VSF has done for them.


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