Head High International Organisation a non- governmental organisation that champions and defends the cause of the vulnerable especially women, widows, single parents, orphans and children on the street (founded in 2001) has organized valentine love feast to empower widows in Lagos.
Speaking during the programme the convener of the event, Pastor Mrs Tinu Odugbemi said that the programme was organized to empower widows every year. Our skill acquisition centre meant to empower widows was dedicated last year.
“From the beginning of next month we are starting with dress making, interior decoration, hat making. We are starting right way. We have trained over 200 of our widows.
“Thank you for the good work. One of the reasons why we are here is to relax. We listen to other people. The almighty is your husband. Some have been widows for thirty years. May God give you strength.”
Odugbemi who doubled as the Executive Director of Head High International explained that God will help to take them to the next level. ”This will not be your last. You will achieve much more. You will have joy. It is well with you know that there is life for you outside widowhood. That is why the officials of Lagos State Employment Trust Fund LSETF are here to help you with loans.”
The officials of the LSETF, Mr. Fatai Ibrahim and Mr. Taiwo Ogunleye attended the programme.
Mr. Fatai Ibrahim explained that one of the gifts the Lagos State government has for the mummies is to empower them with loans.
“We are here to support the widows. We are here to support you financially. To enrich you in your business with loan facility, we can give you loans to improve your business.”
He explained that those who are living in Lagos State have the advantage of getting LSETF loans.
“What that means is that you are living in Lagos. Our focus should be the border line. You can choose any amount you want to 250,000 to start up your business.
“We call it any start up loan. No one requirement is your tax certificate. We all contribute to government. Government makes money through taxes. Because you are just starting business you must show to us evidence of readiness. It is called Tax ID. You also need any other means of tax identification.
“Once you have the complete requirement. We are going to give you the loan. This money that we are giving to you it is a grants. Your BVN and one guarantor is your security for the loan. How long will it takes you to pay back?
Ibrahim added that the essence of the loan is for the beneficiaries to start doing something productively.
“We want to start working with it for 15 months. We called it moratorium. That period we are not expecting you to pay any money.”
He disclosed that for those people who are already in business they can get a loan from N250,000 to N5000000. If you are already in business we need six months statement of account. You can go and open an account with Access Bank.
“The last thing is that you need to be registered with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). You can access up to five million. Once we are sure and we have done our clarification and expect you to pay back.”
He said that before now the interest rate was five percent, now it is ten percent. We have increased the rate.
Mr. Taiwo Ogunleye also pointed out that LSETF has laison offices in all the Local Councils and the Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) in Lagos State.
“We have offices in all the local government and LCDA in Lagos State. Our hotline is 017000969.”
Asst. Comptroller of Prisons,(Rtd)) Mrs Folashade Akinwale said it a privilege to be able to meet with Mrs Taiwo Ajayi Lycet and Pastor Tinu Odugbemi.
“My elder sister added me to the group. I came all the way from Ibadan because I want to be here. You are a daughter of Zion. Nobody dares messes up with you. I want you to be encouraged. Always remember that you are not alone. The Lord will support you in the name of Jesus Christ.”
General Superintendent Life-Gate International Bible Ministry Rev. Dr Levi Adegbe said that the widows should not see themselves as a less privileged person.
“You are not a less privileged person. I never heard of any organisation that runs a programme like this before. I saw it on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and that was what brought us together. I thank God for his encouragement and what He is doing.”
He said that some of the widows are now land owners. “They are nothing while their husbands were alive. I thank everybody for this beautiful day that the Lord has made. It is God that will give you joy. God will even make your enemies to be your friends.”
Nigerian popular actress, Taiwo Ajayi Lycet who presented some gifts to some of the widows said that God will continue to strengthen them.
“He will continue to empower you. Do not be afraid. You will be okay. Things will get better. I have been a widow for 26 years. People ask me how I cope? Be positive. Always remain positive. I have not accepted that my husband died or that I am a widow.”
She encouraged them to live an exemplary life.
“Please complete your assignment. Live for God. You are not alone. God is there talking to you every time.”
One of the widows, Regina Azunna said that this was the second time she would be coming to attend the programme.
“It is a love feast programme for widows. It is usually organized to mark Valentine Day every February 14th. It is meant to empower the widows on how they can manage themselves and family. I attended last year and I was blessed.”
She recalled that she lost her husband in 2017 after he had an accident. Since last year that she has been attending the love feast programme God has been blessing her in her business.
“I was encouraged not to let my family down. God has been blessing me in my business.
“I have five children. My advice for widows is to find time to attend this programme. It will help them to handle their families.”
Her counterpart, Mrs Foluke Ojelabi said that her fellow widows should be patience and take care of their children.
“Be patience. Believe in God and take care of your children. I trained my children up to the university level. My husband had left me before he died. They brought his dead body to me. That was seven years ago. All my children are doing well. This programme was put together by Pastor Odugbemi. This is what she is using to reach out to the widows,”she said.