Jos — It was a moment of relief for no fewer than 50 Christian and Muslim widows as a Jos-based non-governmental agency, Paradise for Widows and Teenagers, showered them with foodstuffs in order to ameliorate their plight.
The women, assembled by the organisation under the theme: “Shower of Hope Charity Celebration”, ate and prayed together and also testified to the goodness of the Lord upon their lives in the past year. The convener and vision coordinator of the group, Jane Egbo, who is also a widow with seven children, charged the women to cast their cares upon God and also work hard in order to succeed in life.
Egbo cautioned the widows not to be worried about their status as widows or engage in self-pity but to consider themselves as key stakeholders in the society, who deserve equal attention, support and care. Egbo, who shared bags of rice, beans, maize, garri, bread, seasoning and drinking water to the women, said her organisation would always pay attention to them so as to give them a sense of belonging, hope and confidence as bonafide Nigerians. Egbo said: “We gather from time to time to encourage one another, talk about how to take care of ourselves, how to take care of our children. Though we are widows, we can still be givers.”
Using the benefit of her experience as a widow who was thrown out of her husband’s house and stripped of everything after his death, Egbo encouraged them to face life with hope and work hard in order to give succour to others. “There are many widows that have learned from me and are now giving to others. It is not just about what you can get but what you can give. I have some widows who got an encouragement of N2,000 to sell vegetables, now they are sending vegetables to Lagos, Port Harcourt and other places.
“Some others got support to fry akara, now they have restaurants, helping other people. I have been a widow for 13 years now; I started this project when I left Bible School in 1992. God said take care of my widows and young girls. I did not even know I was going to be an early widow. I did not know that God was preparing me for the task ahead. I started doing this with my late husband. When I told him about what God wanted me to do, he supported me wholeheartedly. When my husband died, I experienced what these widows go through. My in-laws took everything from me. Even this compound, they took me to court because they wanted it. We were in court for six years. I won the case; they still went to a higher court, I won the case. God has been faithful.”
She appreciated those who have been supporting her to cater for the less-privileged saying: “It gives me joy when I put smiles on the faces of the downtrodden. We used to give more than these, but because of the economic situation, we are just getting by. A friend supported me with N100, 000; someone gave us bread, another gave water and I added those to what I had and shared to them. I want to encourage them that being a widow is not a death sentence; it is not a crime and you can still be a good mother to your children and be useful to society. I encourage them to stay focused, not dwelling on self-pity but look up to God.”
She added: “Every woman is a potential widow and every man is a potential widower; when you treat a widow badly, what of when you die? Would you want any man to do that to your wife or your sister?”
amilies that collect things from widows when their husbands die, it is not the best. Every man should write a will and when you don’t, spell it out to your family members that your wife and children are part of you and in case you die, nobody should maltreat them, nobody should tamper with your property.
“Most of the problems widows have are that their in-laws pack their husbands’ property. I advise widows that if they cannot manage themselves, they can remarry instead of messing around with men.” One of the beneficiaries of the programme, Felicia Luka, who lamented that life has not been fair to her; appreciated Mrs. Egbo’s gesture and prayed the programme be sustained.