By Modupe Gbadeyanka
At least 970 widows, 11 of whom are in university, have been empowered by the Rose of Sharon Foundation set up by one of the richest women in the world, Mrs Folorunso Alakija, a decade ago.
During the period it was established, the foundation has also awarded scholarships to 1,366 widow’s children and 72 orphans.
Business Post reports that on May 23, 2008, the Rose of Sharon Foundation first opened its doors to widows and orphanages.
The Rose of Sharon foundation was founded to guarantee the financial independence and educational opportunities for widows and orphans through schemes and programmes that assure greater self-esteem and ease of socio-economic integration.
The foundation hasn’t just stopped there, just last year, it launched a youth empowerment scheme which trained over 100 youth enabling them to become part of the country’s working class.
The foundation also boasts several educational, mentorship and skills acquisition programs for the widows. Over the years, it has managed to empower thousands of widows who are now able to function without needing assistance from the foundation.
A journey that started with three widows a decade ago, has culminated into a network of almost a thousand widows today.
The loans to widows are interest free and the scholarships have no conditions attached. It has also provided accommodation for residential/business purposes for 82 widows.
Mrs Elizabeth Njoku, a member of ROSF, stated that, “Today two of my kids are in university. One is in final year and the other is in her 2nd year. Mrs Alakija is a God-send. What my family, in-laws, pastors could not do, she’s done. I have taken several interest-free loans, i just took my third one. She does not discriminate, not even based on ethnicity. I want to thank her because I am amazed when I look back and see how far I’ve come.”
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