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NOWA hosts 150 widows in Lagos, gives food items, toiletries

The Naval Officers Wives Association (NOWA) on Wednesday hosted 150 widows as part of its 56th Anniversary celebration.

The 2021 NOWA’s Day out with Widows and Orphans outreach had the theme “Embracing Resilience in situations of change.”

Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice –Admiral Awwal Gambo was represented by Rear Admiral T.Y. Pani, the Admiral Superintendent, Naval Ordinance Depot.

Mrs. Margaret Kosoni, a former President of NOWA, was the Special Guest of Honour.

NOWA President, Hajiya Nana Aisha Gambo, in her welcome address, expressed gratitude to God that the programme has continued to give some level of support to the widows, to empower them emotionally as well as economically.

She talked about the importance of empowering women, as the ripples effect would be a pillar for their children and society at large.

She added that it is important to give women the support that they need in cases when they become widowed, because many women stayed stuck to being ‘stay-at-home’ moms because they had to care for the family, particularly as military husbands often stay away from home.

She said: “Women are critical stakeholders in global development. The role of women in the society cannot be over-emphasised.  It is further recognised that that building the capacity of the women in the society is an essential requirement to develop an economy; hence women empowerment is regarded as a crucial prerequisite for the 2030 sustainable development goals.

“However, as it is a social tradition for a family basic needs to be provided for by the husband, it is traumatic when the breadwinner is no more. This reality is tough, as it often sets the family back, because, many women accepted to become stay-at-home moms to pursue the interest of their families due to the constant absence of their husbands.

“Therefore, it is of utmost importance to look of such women who have lost their husbands and find it difficult to keep the family together. It is in recognition of this part that NOWA, under the then leadership NOWA President; Mrs Vivian Ezeoba, started the “A Day Out with Widows and Orphans” programme in 2013, to cater for the needs of widows and orphans of fallen heroes.

“Over time, widows have been supported with food and different palliatives as well as training and empowerment through the widows’ outreach.

“To show how important this programme is, it is now considered an annual event of NOWA. The association has trained, empowered, issued palliatives to beneficiaries of the programme since then.

“As practised annually, NOWA always ensures that all the beneficiaries are kept abreast of the happenings in the world, so that they can gain adequate knowledge to forwarding their horizon.

She concluded her speech with an appeal that the widows should “Accept the spirit of the outreach,” even as she prays that God would bless the work of their hands.

Hajiya Gambo gave special appreciation to Mrs Ombo and Mrs Ayinla.

In her paper presentation, Mrs Ayobanjo Adetomiwa, a pastor who is also a widow, encouraged the widows to build resilience by being purposeful about surviving and leading a happy life in spite of losing their husbands.

Adetomiwa advised the women to become resilient physically, mentally, emotionally and socially to help them get out of the difficulties that could be associated with loss of a loved one.

“Tune your mindset to accept what has happened and tell yourself you must survive and be available to support your children.

“Be able to absorb information before you act about anything. Embrace a growth mindset. Learn to prioritize and take good care of your health. Remember you can only manage a situation when you are alive,” she said.

Highpoint of the programme was the distribution of various food items and toiletries in bags to all the participants.

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