Int’l widows Day : Enugu Gov’s wife donates cash, bags of rice to widows, vows to protect them

Wife of Enugu state Governor, Mrs Nkechinyere Mbah has empowered 100 widows drawn from the 17 Local Government Areas of the state with bags of 10kg rice and cash donation of N50,000 each to start up petty trading, in commemoration of the 2024 International Widows Day, held on Wednesday  in Enugu.

Speaking , Mrs Mbah said  the event  was put together by the office of the wife of the Governor, in collaboration with her pet project, CUSTOS Care Foundation and the Ministry of Children, Gender Affairs and Social Development, unified by commitment to accelerating gender equality.

Pix: Participants and Mrs Mbah’s team

Represented by Mrs Chinyere Ugwu,  wife of the Speaker,  Enugu State House of Assembly, Mrs Mbah said the gifts were to cushion the effects of the hardship orchestrated by the state of widowhood and the current economic reality.

The founder of CUSTOS Care Foundation said the 2024  theme, “Accelerating Achievement of Gender Equality by Emphasizing the Strength of Land and Property Rights for Widows,” holds profound significance.She explained that widows face challenges, often being denied their rightful inheritance and property..


 Pix: Mrs Chinyere Ugwu, Speaker’s Wife

“These injustices not only perpetuate poverty but also hinder our efforts toward true gender equality. When widows have secure land and property they gain the foundation to rebuild their lives, support their families, and contribute to their communities. This is not just a matter of fairness but a vital step empowering women and ensuring sustainable development for all.,” she said.

The Governor’s wife announced  cash and bags of rice donations to the beneficiaries. 

She said ,”this is part of our commitment to supporting you, It’s is a seed of hope and a tool for empowerment. I encourage you to use it wisely. Consider starting a petty trade or enhancing an existing one” Mrs Mbah said..

Pix: The presentation of the items to the w

She commended the widows for remaining resolute, resilient and steadfast in ensuring proper care of their children and the protection of the properties left behind by their husbands, 

The Governor’s wife suggested petty trading like  Vegetable selling , fruit selling, food kiosk, tailoring and sewing services, hairdressing and beauty services, soap and detergent making, Beadwork and Handicrafts  , as some of the business they can do to be self-reliant.

In a Goodwill  message, the Commissioner for Children, Gender Affairs and Social Development,Mrs Ngozi Enih,  said her ministry collaborated with the office of the Wife of the Governor  and her pet project.  to  encourage the widows and  to let them know that the state government has zero tolerance on women abuse, any form of violence against women .

Pix: Commissioner for Children, Gender Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Ngozi Enih

She told widows to report any form of  abuse or oppression against them to the office of the wife of the Governor, stressing that  the Governor’s wife said her ears were opened to the plights of the widows.

In her keynote address, entitled,” Coping with widowhood and linkages”,  the guest speaker, Agbo Lilian Nkeoma , founder, Women , Youths and Children Specialist Healthy  Society Care and Development  Initiative (HSCDI) said widowhood is a profound and life-altering experience. “The transition from being married to losing a spouse presents significant emotional, social, and financial challenges.”,Agbo said

Pix: Mrs Agbo, resource person

Speaking on how widows could  cope with widowhood, Mrs Agbo suggested  addressing the emotional, social, and financial challenges that arise following the loss of a spouse. Was

 The effective coping strategies she suggested , included, emotional support:, grief counseling and  professional,. counseling ,which can help widows process their grief and navigate the emotional turmoil of losing a spouse;

joining support group which can provide a sense of community and shared experience; helping them feel less isolated.

Others are therapy to manage grief, depression, and anxiety associated with widowhood; Social Support to build a strong support network of family and friends to provide emotional and practical support; participating in community activities and volunteering to help widows build new social connections and find purpose.

Pix: Mrs Ike

She added Religious and Spiritual Support, employment , to  offer comfort and a sense of belonging to them.

“It  is essential to foster a compassionate and supportive environment that addresses the unique needs of widows, enabling them to rebuild their lives with dignity and hope.,” she said 

Pix: Mrs Okeagu

Some of the beneficiaries, Mrs Hannah Okeagu and Ike Juliet Chioma, thanked the Governor’s wife for her gifts to them. They prayed God to bless them.

Earlier in her opening remarks, the Managing Director of CUSTOS Care Foundation, Mrs Egodi Igwe said Mrs   Mbah is interested in widows and was out to support them. She added that the Governor’s wife donated bags of  10kg rice and  cash to the beneficiaries to cushion the effects of widowhood.  

Pix: Mrs Egodi Igwe, MD, CUSTOS Care Foundation.

The Managing Director enumerated some empowerment programs carried out by the foundation. They included payment of  insurance premium for 1,701 pregnant women, skills acquisition for Youths among others.

The 2024 International Widows day was observed last Sunday globally, while Enugu state shifted it’s own to wednesday.

Pix: Beneficiaries

The United Nations observes 23rd of June annually as International Widows Day, to draw the attention of the public  to the voices and experiences of widows and to galvanize the unique support that they need.

Author: Maureen Ikpeama

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