By Joy Anigbogu
A Lagos-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Project for the Empowerment of Destitute Children and Women Initiative (PEDCWI), recently showed love to over 50 widows from various communities in Lagos.
The widows were empowered with cash gifts to help them set up new businesses or grow existing ones at an event that took place in Lagos.
The chairman of PEDCWI, Chief Felix Okeke, said he was inspired to establish the NGO and start philanthropic activities by his experiences in his struggling days.
“I suffered so much in life, and so I told God that, if he would bless me, I would be a blessing to others. I like to help my fellow human beings because I know how it feels to be poor.
“We have just empowered some widows and we are already planning how to assist the men. We have students who are on scholarship as well. Our hands are full. We have a long list that we look at from time to time and ensure that we put smiles on the faces of people. It feels good to lend a helping hand. The state of the economy at the moment is such that some families are struggling to feed and so I will say that this is the appropriate time for anyone who is touched to reach out to others.
“Among these widows, we have different tribes. There are Igbo, Yoruba and other tribes. We just want to change their stories as God enables us,” the philanthropist said.
Chief executive officer of PEDCWI, Lolo Ngozi Okeke, said her husband had been very passionate about the initiative and had been involved in charity and humanitarian work for over 10 years, even before PEDCWI was incorporated. She also explained the reason for the empowerment.
Her words: “We want to empower widows so that they can live normal lives. To empower a woman is very important because, if you do that, you have empowered a nation. Today is very remarkable because we know what happened on this very ground in December last year when we gave out foodstuffs to them. We have chosen today to put smiles on their faces and give them a sense of belonging. The cash we have given them will assist them to start up small-scale businesses. And from the profit they make, they can save.
“The chairman of this project, Chief Felix Okeke, has a heart of gold. He uses the resources that God has given him to help the needy in the society. We thank God that he has been providing for him to keep the flag flying. We want other people who can buy into what we are doing to come on board and partner with us so we can have more to give.”
A Catholic mother, Mother Alexia Spineli (OP), who was a special guest at the occasion, applauded the organisers of the project. She commended Okeke who, according to her, had been doing a great job making lives better for widows. She prayed to God to continue to provide for Okeke so that he would continue his humanitarian endeavours.
One of beneficiaries, Mrs. Oluchi Ochulo, was full of joy and gratitude. She said: “I am very happy for this gift. It was like a dream when I was called on Saturday that I should come for this event. I did not expect it. I will use the money to buy more goods for my shop. Our chairman is a very kind man. He has always been doing one thing or the other for us. He does not like to see someone sad. God will bless him and his family. God will give him long life.”