By Ademola Aderemi
The year 2020 was full of setbacks and tribulations occasioned by the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic across the universe. In spite of the difficulties experienced globally, a Lagos-based non-profit organisation, Goldcrest Family Centre (GCFC), recently put smiles on the faces of more than 5,000 widows in the state.
Each widow went home with a bag of rice, groundnut oil and other foodstuff, as well as N10,000, after an event held at Oregun, Lagos.
The event, it was gathered, was part of the group’s annual end-of-the-year programme aimed at spreading joy to people at the grassroots, especially widows.
The widows, according to the organisers, came from various outreach programmes in each of the local government and local council development areas in the state, including Kosofe, Ajelogo, Ajegunle, Apapa, Idimu, Ikotun, Lagos Island, Surulere, Somolu, Ikorodu, Ogijo, Odogunyan and Ketu, among others.
The organisation also reaffirmed its commitment and determination to empower widows, educate poor and vulnerable children across the state and set a new path of hope for the needy in the future.
GCFC, the reporter learnt, has, since its establishment 17 years ago, taken care of over 100,000 widows with various empowerment programmes.
Apart from this, the NGO has also sponsored over 20,000 children and also embarked on various training, seminars, and health insurance programmes for teachers across the state.
President of the organisation, Reverend Mother Agatha Chukwura, said GCFC has a mandate from God to bring smiles to the faces of widows and vulnerable children, adding that the organisation is just fulfilling its purpose.
“It is our God-given mandate to put smiles on the faces of widows and vulnerable children across the state. This is what we have been doing annually for the past 17 years and the widows have been better for it,” she said.
She urged government to consider the widows and provide succour for them.
“I feel bad whenever I realise that the government is not doing enough for Nigerian widows. They are citizens of this country, many of them are still young and have great potential but nobody is ready to take care of them. But as bad as the situation is, our organisation will continue to come to their rescue, leaving no stone unturned. We will continue to empower them and make them happy with the little we have. That is the reason for the establishment of the GCFC,” she said.
One of the directors of thye organization, Mrs. Chika Balogun, also urged the Federal Government to embark on policies that would help to cushion the effects of increasing poverty in the country. She noted that, despite global challenges, the organization considered it imperative to help widows, even if in just a little way.
“In the midst of all the troubles and uncertainties in the country, we are able to find a way of making the widows happy. The management of Goldcrest Family Centre did the normal end-of-the-year programme. It is wonderful to witness the end of the year, it is also amazing to touch the lives of the widows by giving them the little we have for them to celebrate this season.
“Widows, according to the Bible, are the wives of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, I feel great that GCFC is fulfilling its purpose in the most wonderful way. I also want to advise the Nigerian Government to provide the enabling environment for Nigerians to work and add value to the national economy. Nigeria has the potential to be one of the greatest countries in the world, but it is sad that we are still not able to translate all the potential we have as a nation to something great as it is done in other great countries.”
One of the guests present at the event, Pastor Temidayo Adewale, said he was impressed with what the foundation was doing with the widows. He praised the management of GCFC for doing so much for the less privileged with its various activities and empowerment programmes.
He advised the beneficiaries of the foundation’s empowerment programmes to ensure they make the best use of the opportunities.
“It is great spreading joy to the poor, but I am looking beyond that. The various empowerment programmes will also help in reducing the level of poverty. So, each time the foundation embarks on the empowerment programme, the widows should see it as an opportunity to grow and be independent,” he said
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Grace Azuka, said she was happy that God has always used the president of GCFC, Rev. Chukwura, for the widows.
She said the foundation has been responsible for her upkeep and that of her children since she lost her husband five years ago.
“The foundation has been a source of joy to us and I pray to God to continue to bless all our sponsors and give our mummy good health and sound mind to fulfil this great purpose in life,” she said.
Mr. Chika Edoziem, a physically challenged young man, said he got to know about the foundation last year through a friend, and since then GCFC has been supporting his business and that of others.
While thanking the management of GCFC for the Yuletide gifts, Edoziem said the gifts would go a long way in alleviating the suffering of the people.