As part of the New Year celebration, the Chinwe Bode-Akinwande (CBA) Foundation, a non-governmental organisation in Nigeria, has put smiles on faces of some widows in Nnewi, Anambra State.
The event, which was held on Friday, January 1, 2021 had excited widows numbering over 55 going home with food-items and financial empowerment.
Speaking at the event, the founder of the NGO, Mrs. Chinwe Bode-Akinwande, said the basis for diligently driving the foundation is derived from the passion and need to impact the lives of underprivileged widows who have gone through so much pain and discrimination and might have lost hope.
“We give hope to the hopeless. We are driven to support underprivileged widows to have a positive outlook on life despite the problems they experience by losing their loved one, mostly the breadwinner of the family.
“At the moment, we have over 1,200 authentic widows on our profile. The successes have been enormous, many women are now business owners and are able to not just fend for their families but are employers of labour. Over 40 children who had lost hope in education are back to school, through the payment of school fees as well as provision of stationeries. Twenty-six underprivileged widows through our medical intervention recovered from stroke.
“We have reached out to over 5,600 underprivileged widows and over 850 children through our International Widow’s Day outreaches since we started with food items, clothing, skill acquisition training, and financial empowerment to some selected and medical outreaches. We can go on and on but time wouldn’t permit me,” she said.
Mrs Bode-Akinwande added: “We have a long term expansion plan but what matters to us at CBA Foundation is our immediate environment.
“This indeed forms the basis for expanding our environment beyond Lagos, Ogun and Anambra which we currently cover. We are hopeful that more individuals and organisations will support us to spread across the country and beyond.”
At the Nnewi outreach, the widows expressed gratitude to the foundation as some were seen with smiles and relief on their faces.
According to Mrs Nwosu, one of the widows, a bitter kola and palm kernel trader, every market day, she goes to the town’s market society to borrow money to be able to buy and resell; she thereafter returns the money along with a part of the profit.
Mrs Nwosu was given a seed capital for bitter kola and palm kernel business by the CBA Foundation.
Mrs Nnodu is a mother of three. She and her kids hawk fruits on the streets. They share the routes they have to cover daily. To boost her income, she used to borrow money from the women group to sell plastics but was unable to meet up interest and timelines. She became a lucky beneficiary of CBA Foundation seed capital for the plastic business and packaging of the fruits.
Just like Nwosu, periodic checks and reports are to be done by leaders of their respective groups to track their progress, Mrs. Chinwe Bode-Akinwande, the CBA founder said.
For Mrs Okonkwo, the kids’ welfare had remained a huge challenge. The widow who cleans the streets and takes care of her very aged mother, wants to start a poultry business that can fetch her money, take care of the sick aged mother with her is enough for her to cater for her kids. CBA has come to her rescue also by providing a seed capital for the poultry business which will be tracked by her group leader just like others who were empowered the same day of outreach.
One of them, Mrs Akaoma, goes into thick bushes to fetch firewood, arranges them and takes to different market days to sell and earn a living. Akaoma was also among the beneficiaries of the seed capital to start a business to immediately stop the risk to her life in the thick forest.
The CBA Foundation is primarily dedicated to promoting the protection of Nigerian underprivileged widows and their vulnerable children, restoring immediate and lasting hope, confidence, and courage in their lives.
Established in 2015, the foundation, under its five-point agenda, has reached out to thousands of underprivileged widows and children through skills acquisition training, health intervention, business start-ups and provision of clothing, nutrition and tuition fees for the children.
A breakdown shows 5,600 widows have been empowered through its women empowerment and capacity building initiative; over 3,500underprivileged widows have received health intervention while over 3,600 have received food items. The foundation has also reinstated 45 children in schools, empowered 120 widows financially to start a business of their own and provided palliatives to 250 widows during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.