From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Founder of Ebira Women Empowerment Foundation (EWEF) in Kaduna, Hajiya Maimuna Ahmed, was once a widow, having lost her first husband about 15 years ago. She, however, remarried a few years later, and decided to care for her former ‘colleagues’ because, according to her, she saw hell as a widow.
She added that her conviction to go into empowering women and orphans arose from the pains and societal rejection widows are going through. She pointed out that “to empower women is to empower the nation.”
But for now, EWEF has limited its humanitarian services to Kaduna-resident widows, orphans and other women in need of empowerment.
Hajiya Ahmed expressed satisfaction that her NGO was able to empower 60 beneficiaries in two years of its activities.
After this year distribution of starter packs to beneficiaries, the EWEF founder explained: “The aims and objectives of this programme is to help widows and women that are industrious, but don’t have anybody to support them financially.
“I am motivated to embark on this programme by the fact that I lost my husband about 15 years ago. Life became so difficult for me after the death of my husband. I began to reason that if things are difficult for me, it could also be difficult for other women in my shoes. I have remarried now, but life was not easy for me during those periods that I remained a widow. My husband died about 15 years ago.
“So, as soon as God blessed me with good things of life, I decided to help widows, orphans and others in need of assistance. On a daily basis, these set of people come to my house to beg to feed their children.
“I said to myself, if I must please God both on earth and in heaven, I should empower these women. I embarked on skill acquisition training. And at the end of training, I gave them start packs like sewing machines, deep freezers, weaving materials as well as soap and pomade making skills so that they can be economically independent.
“I am grateful to governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, for supporting my programme. The governor never allows widows and orphans to go hungry, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown. I have empowered 60 widows, including hardworking women in the last two years when I founded this project.
“I am also happy that Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, has promised to launch this programme later this year in Abuja just to strengthen my contributions to women empowerment. I am a civil servant; I am not a politician, but I decided to do the little I can for women who are in dire need of empowerment. I just want to put smiles on their faces.
The patron of the foundation, Abdurahaman Ahmed, said: “I am deeply involved. I have been supporting them morally and financially. I am the patron of the foundation. The programme is not only for Ebira women, other tribes are involved. The widows and orphans are the major stakeholders. If you lose your husband, you will be empowered by this foundation; though we are not praying for anyone to lose her husband, but it happens.
Two of the beneficiaries, Fatima Illiyasu and Husseina Adam, who were empowered with deep freezers to enable them sell ice block, cold water and soft drinks, said: “We are grateful to Hajiya Maimuna Ahmed for training us and empowering us with deep freezers to enable us do small businesses of selling cold ice cream, water and soft drinks. May God reward him accordingly.”