The National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, was a beehive of activities recently, as a non-governmental organisation, Women for Change and Development Initiative, put smiles on the faces of several underprivileged women.
The women, who came from the 20 local government areas (LGA) and 37 local council development areas (LCDA) in Lagos State, were empowered with various items, ranging from sewing machines to grinding machines and cash.
South-West zonal coordinator of the group, Chief Kate Onyechere, said the organisation was out to lift women out of poverty.
She said the organisation decided to empower women with items that would enable them assist their husbands. Onyechere said the group also organises vocational classes where the women are trained in different skills. She stated that the organisation has been doing that in all the 36 states of Nigeria.
In her words, the organisation has built and furnished thousands of houses for indigent women in different states, just as it has provided scholarships for children of the poor.
She said the group gets donations from well-meaning individuals, corporate bodies, associations and organisations in Nigeria and in the diaspora to fund its activities.
Her words: “Women for Change and Development Initiative was formed to improve the status of women in the society. Our mandate includes restoring purpose in the lives of women by helping them overcome setbacks and obstacles. We do this by empowering women through skills training, mentoring and capacity building. We try to establish and also expand facilities necessary for economic empowerment of the women and we initiate and encourage projects that would improve social development, education, enlightenment programmes that would benefit the women.”
She said thousands of women down with terminal diseases have been sent to India for treatment, just as children with hole in the heart disease have been taken to India for heart surgery: “We are now in partnership with Apollo Hospital in India. They are specialists in heart surgery. That is the hospital where we are sending women with breast cancer, kidney, liver and other terminal illnesses.
“But we have convinced them to come down to Nigeria to build their hospitals in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano. This would help to reduce the cost of transporting the sick to India. This would also help to improve medical technology in Nigeria, as the local staff they would employ would learn what they are doing and would be able to replicate it here in Nigeria. It would also help to reduce the billions of naira spent on medical tourism to India and other countries, since what is taking them to those countries can now be found in Nigeria.”
She expressed appreciation to individuals and groups supporting the Women for Change and Development Initiative.