By Stanley Onyekwere
An Abuja based Non Governmental Organisation, Helpline Foundation for the Needy Abuja has rolled out its reach-out programme for over 500 vulnerable women in rural communities across the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and neighboring states of Nasarawa, Niger and Kogi, during the yuletide season.
The Foundation also distributed assorted food items and clothings as part of activities to mark its 20th anniversary and end of year reach-out and empowerment programme for vulnerable women and children in rural communities.
Speaking to journalists at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, venue of the occasion, President of the foundation, Dr. Jumai Ahmadu, revealed that over 10,000 vulnerable women and children have benefited from the scheme since inception in 2003, while 3,000 children from less privileged homes are on the scholarship scheme of the foundation.
Ahmadu added that besides the reach-out programme, the foundation has redesigned its programmes to focus more on skill acquisition training and empowerment rather than distribution of food stuffs, stressing that the 20th anniversary was unique as over 100 women would be empowered to carry out various skills.
“We are here this morning to mark our 20th anniversary and at the same time do our usual annual reach-out programme for widows and orphans across the FCT and the neighbouring states of Nasarawa, Niger and Kogi.
“It has been our tradition for 20-year to seize every opportunity and occasion to put smiles on the faces of the less privileged especially women. Today, we are training women on the art of gale making in different forms in view of the season and to distribute foods and clothing items to them, so that they too can join the privileged class to celebrate Christmas.
“It has been our philosophy and our slogan that “nobody is too poor to give and nothing is too small to give”. However, we at Helpline Foundation have decided to focus more on skill acquisition programmes and empowerment of the vulnerable as we can witness today,” she stressed.
She, however, commended the present administration for demonstrating commitment in ensuring that women are able to access available grants designed for women empowerment, adding that the FCT Gender Department under the Social Development Secretariat has lived up to its mandates.
In her words: “we have now gone beyond talk, and we are now doing what ought to be done for women. We in the FCT, the Gender Department under the Social Development Secretariat is always there for us. The government of the day is beginning to live up to its responsibility in terms of women empowerment”.
Ahmadu also commended Make a Difference for the Needy Foundation, Ladies of Grace, Right Healthcare Foundation, amongst others for their purposeful partnership over the years.
Responding, one of the beneficiaries and coordinator of Bwari women, Mrs. Terdoo Ubah, commended the foundation for its steadfastness in women empowerment, revealing that the revolving loan scheme launched by the foundation has empowerment over 200 widows in Bwari area council of the territory.
The highpoint of the occasion was health talk for women, how to start a business with zero capital, digital tools for growing a business online, gale making for women, soap and disinfection production and basic protection for the girl child.