Lagos State Government has affirmed that it will take deliberate steps to ameliorate the challenges confronting widows in the State, through friendly policies and women-tailored empowerment initiatives. 

The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Mrs. Bolaji Dada made the pledge on Tuesday during the commemoration of Y2020 International Widows Day at a low-key event held at JJT Park, Alausa, Ikeja, and attended by the First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu and wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Oluremi Hamzat. 

The Commissioner, who acknowledged the fact that widows are occasionally faced with pathetic challenges, maintained that such issues could be mitigated through the provisions of access to good health care, education for the children, empowerment, decent work or vocation, as well as lives that are free from violence and abuse. 

She informed that the Lagos State Government is determined more than ever before to protect the rights of its citizens, especially women and vulnerable members of the society who often face unfair treatment from the public.  

Dada said the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, embarked on specific programmes to ameliorate the plight of widows in the State and also empower them to be self-reliant in coping with the numerous challenges confronting them.

“For instance, in the last year, over 500 widows were trained in short-term skills such as Hair Dressing and Cosmetology, Event Decoration, Catering, Tie and Dye to mention a few. Apart from training them, they were also given starter packs to help them set up their personal businesses”, the Commissioner stated.

She reiterated that the Ministry also has 18 Skills Acquisition Centres located in the nooks and crannies of the State to cushion the effects of unemployment, support widows, as well as offer economic empowerment to women and young persons. 

The Centres, she said, offer short and long term vocational training in various skills free of charge, including the provision of starter packs to the trainees in line with their chosen vocations.

She, however, urged all widows not to engage in self-pity but rather be bold and not lose a sense of their self-worth, saying “Do all you can to boost your morale and self-worth. Hold on to God and take good care of your children. Certainly, there is light at the end of the dark tunnel. Get busy, get engaged and l pray that Almighty God will continue to sustain you and your children”.