By Emma Elekwa, Onitsha
The Women Centre for Self-Empowerment and Development (WOCSED), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has expressed worry over the increasing plight of widows across the country, particularly their socio-cultural and economic dispositions.
The group regretted that such conditions had further made them invisible to the society with dire economic implications.
In a chat with reporters yesterday in Igbo-Ukwu, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State at the commemoration of International Widows’ Day whose theme was “Invisible Women, Invisible Problems,” the Founder, Mrs Onyeka Obi, described most widowhood cases as catalyst to poverty.
She, however, explained that the widows could assist themselves by embracing economic empowerment to be self-reliant and eradicate poverty.
She said: “One of the greatest consolations to a bereaved widow is economic empowerment in the form of job or acquired skills that can bring regular income.
“Widows in our society are mostly faced with stigmatisation, persecution, deprivation, marginalisation and exclusion as a result of the death of their husbands.
“The incidence of widowhood is often a catalyst to poverty. This is why, as a responsive organisation, we are having this event to respond to some of the plights of widows and their children who suffered exclusion in the society.
“We urge widows to acquire skills that will keep them busy, help them think less about the unfortunate situation on hand and help them meet their basic financial needs.
“We also want to educate widows on the need to embrace a healthy lifestyle to prevent diseases such as cancers.”
While urging the government at all levels and public-spirited Nigerians to reach out to widows in the society, Obi said: “No one knew when he or she would die, hence, the need to show sympathy and provide succour to vulnerable widows, instead of adding to their sorrows.”
The group also gave out cash gifts and clothing, and carried out free diabetes, blood sugar, hypertension, HIV, Hepatitis B, Cervical and Breast Cancer screening.
While appreciating the convener on behalf of the widows, one of the beneficiaries, Mrs Josephine Okeke urged other organisations to emulate WOCSED in solving the welfare problems of widows in society.