Defence and Police Officers Wives Association (DEPOWA) has empowered 39 military widows and vulnerable barrack youths in Abuja through skill acquisition with starter packs and seed capital.
The President of DEPOWA, Mrs Omobolanle Olonisakin, disclosed this during the graduation of the batch 9 of DEPOWA Skill Acquisition Centre in Abuja on Tuesday.
Olonisakin said that the 39 beneficiaries, who were trained in different vacations, comprised 12 widows and 27 other vulnerable youths in the barracks.
She said that it was part of the association’s effort at prioritising the welfare and well-being of the widows of fallen heroes and the needy, especially during this period.
She said the beneficiaries were trained in different fields such as tailoring, catering, soap making and hairdressing among others.
According to her, the centre has trained a total of 382 beneficiaries comprising 136 widows and 14 vulnerable youths since inception, adding that the beneficiaries were doing well in their trades.
Olonisakin said the trainees had been groomed to help secure their future as well as make them to become employers of labour and give livelihood to others.
She commended the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, service chiefs, the Inspector General of Police and commandants of tri-service military Institutions for their financial and moral support.
“As it is our custom since the inception of this empowerment programme, the widows among you, will be given trade starter packs and an increased financial assistance to secure a shop,’’ she said.
The Chief of Defence Staff, represented by the Deputy Director, Civil Military Affairs, Brig.-Gen. Efe Edofiaghor commended DEPOWA for its support in the fight against unemployment in the country.
Olonisakin urged the beneficiaries to adequately utilise the skills they had acquired in supporting themselves and their families as well as contributing to the nation’s economic development.
He pledged to sustain his support for DEPOWA in its humanitarian activities as well as continuous support for the widows and orphans of the deceased personnel of the armed forces.
“You must ensure proper utilisation of the skills by practising the skills and be innovative in managing the starter packs given to you judiciously.
“This skill acquisition is going to assist them a lot to ensure that they cover up some gaps to take care of the home front in the absence of their husbands.
“With this skill acquisition given to our widows and other vulnerable youths in the barracks and the starter packs and money given, we are sure that a lot of gaps have been covered by DEPOWA on behalf of the armed forces of Nigeria.
“By next year, we expect a lot of testimonies from this set of graduates,” he said.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Victoria Okume, said that DEPOWA had helped in changing her story, adding that she had been empowered to cater for the needs of her family.
Okume said she had acquired requisite skills to start her business and pledged to ensure proper utilisation of the starter pack and the money to rent a shop.
“I know that I have been empowered to be able to take care of my immediate family to pay my children’s school fees, pay hospital bills and other things.
“I appreciate God for the life of DEPOWA President because she has been doing a lot for orphans and the less privilege among us.
“I know that with this starter pack, I will be an independent person because I will not have to go anywhere to look for help again,’’ she said.