By Job Osazuwa
Thirty-two students, including 20 widows and orphans, and other vulnerable people in Lagos State, recently had reasons to smile as they got a lifeline through a skills programme, courtesy of the Mercy Ogbuehi Widows and Orphans Foundation.
The graduating students were full of excitement as they proudly displayed the output of what they learnt in the course of their studies.
The founder of the non-governmental organisation, Nnenna Uchegbu, said she started the organisation out of the desire to help the very vulnerable in society, most of whom she claimed were often neglected by the rest of society.
While thanking those who contributed their time and resources to be part of the life-changing mission, she called for more partnerships, including material and financial donations, so that more people in need could be reached.
“We train widows, orphans and the less-privileged, indeed anyone that comes to us. We give seed money to graduating widows and orphans. To date, 149 students have graduated with skills in catering, industrial, fashion, makeup artistry, computer, event planning, weaving, and other artisanship. Out of this number are 57 widows,” she said.
As gathered, the foundation is also sponsoring seven orphans in school as well as supporting various orphanages with provisions and materials on a monthly basis, as part of its outreach. It recently distributed schoolbags and school supplies to elementary and secondary school students.
According to her: “We have arrangements with outside tradesmen and professionals to train our people. God has blessed the foundation with favour from sponsors, instructors who volunteer to train and share their skills with our people, the servants of God who counsel and pray for us because some of the people who come to us are broken; the prayer warriors and also our dedicated staff. We do not receive funding from any government or government entities, though we have not asked anyways.
“The NGO, which was established in 2017, has lifted the beneficiaries in the area by providing them with skills in liquid soap manufacturing, tailoring, beauty and spa services, catering, information and communication technology and events planning, among others,” Uchegbu said.
One of the beneficiaries, a police officer’s wife, Mrs. Vivian Obagunle, who lost her husband on April 10, 2016, thanked the foundation for giving her the opportunity to learn a new skill.
“The foundation didn’t collect any money from me; everything was for free. The chemical and other materials that we used for our trainings were also given to us for free. I was tutored under the industrial department, where I was taught how to make perfume, kampala, liquid soap, antiseptic liquid. I learnt all these under four months. I was going for the training once a week.”
Another widow who benefited from the programme, Mrs. Yemisi Soji-Idowu, said the training exposed her to many business opportunities that were capable of transforming her life.