From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
PROVISION of hostel accommodation for students of Delta State-owned College of Education, Agbor, has received a boost with the dedication of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Hostel, built by members of the Catholic Women Organisation (CWO), Iselle-Uku Diocese.
The hostel, with 22 self-contain rooms (bed sitter), four flats of one bedroom each, and four stores, is located on Alihame Road in Agbor. It was constructed through direct labour at the cost of over N25 million, and they are expected to be occupied by female students.
At the dedication preceded by a thanksgiving mass at the All Saints Catholic Church, Agbor, Bishop of the Diocese, Most Rev. (Dr.) Michael Odogwu Elue, said women are very key to missions and missionaries. Represented by the CWO Diocesan Chaplain, Rev. Father Franklyn Odiaka, he advised women to keep doing the work of God at home and outside their homes:
“When you look at the scriptures, you see that women not only took care of Jesus at one point or the other, they were even there at the foot of the cross, and after the death and resurrection of Christ, women played prominent role.
“I will advise women to keep on keeping on, keep on carrying the fire, keep on doing the work of God even in their homes and outside their homes. Our job is to spread Christianity, our job to go out and tell people about Christ in any way we can.” he said.
Odiaka said the hostel was open to female students “who has a goodwill and who has come to school to study and to learn. It is open to every girl who is interested in education. This hostel is girls’ hostel, where we have children of God to come in and live, and they are not just living here, they will be taught the way of the missions, so that when they grow and become mothers, they will be able to carry on with the work of God.”
Former president of the CWO in the diocese, Dr. (Mrs.) Philomena Ifeanyi Onwuka, was elated: “We started the celebration with mass at All Saints Catholic Church. I am going to hand over today, to the next executive. We are celebrating triple events. First, we are thanking God for the success of my executive, then, we are using the opportunity to bless this building which we have built, through the efforts of the women. This building costs us over N25 million.”
According to her, the reason for embarking on the hostel project was to have a stable source of income for the organisation, adding that her executive inherited the project in July, 2013, when they took over from their predecessor:
“The objective is to get little income for the diocese. It took us three and half years to raise this building to the level. The land has already been acquired, I inherited it at DPC level, so we were able to complete it.”
On the choice of Agbor for the project ahead of Asaba, Delta State capital, and Iselle-Uku, the headquarters of the diocese, Mrs. Onwuka explained: “We wanted it at Asaba because of the Federal College of Education there, but we could not get land at Asaba, so, they came to Agbor and they got land here.
“We were able to mobilize funds for the project, through being focused and appreciating women. About 80 per cent of the funds came directly from women, and we went outside to source for others.
“It is true that we sell wrapper, and we make little income from the sales. We try to levy women N1,000.00 each, within this period and they responded. We organized seminars annually, and we got some income from the seminars.”
In her valedictory speech, Onwuka highlighted some of the achievements of the former executives, noting that the developmental initiative of the organisation and the spirituality of women across the diocese were greatly enhanced.
She said a total of N680,000.00 profit realised from the sales of national CWO uniform, was given to the diocese, and that the organisation increased the fund for training of seminarians gradually from N40,000.00 to N120.000.00. During the period under review, she stated that the organisation bought generator for the Pastoral Centre, as well as increased the money for the training of girls from N5,000.00 to N20,000.00.
The new president, Ezinne (Mrs.) Patricia Obiageli Nwanze, promised to build on the achievements of the out-gone executives, just as she thanked all the women for their support during her election and ratification, and pledged not to disappoint. She listed a four-point agenda which her executive intends to pursue to take the organisation to the next level.
She explained that evangelism and spiritual growth of women would be greatly enhanced while both women, youths and the elderly, benefit from economic empowerment, through skill acquisition and provision of non-interest loan for businesses.