The founder of Rose of Sharon Foundation, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija expressed her quest and intention to improve the lives of the widows in Benue state in partnership with state government in her statement below.
“God has heard your cries and He is willing to deliver you. He said He is the husband of the widows. God would not come down himself to help but would send people. Therefore, God has sent us to you… we have come to realize that more than three quarters of you are farmers and that many of you have just small portions of land that you farm to make ends meet. But today, God is starting a process that would take you to the next level.
To this end, we are working with government of Benue state to ensure that government assists Rose of Sharon Foundation (ROSF) to help you by providing large portions of land for you to farm on a large-scale and then the Foundation will buy modern equipment for you to use in farming.
We would teach you and the children how to use these modern equipment so that if you used to get 100 yams, you would begin to get a 1000 more. You would be using the machines for the farm instead of using your bare hands and very soon you would be supplying the whole of Nigeria and outside Nigeria on the long run. Through this, you would move from the level you are now to the next level. We would also set up schools for your children and you have your children go to school for free.”
Over a couple of years, the foundation has arranged empowerment programme through with the widows have benefited upon which they are strengthening efforts. ROSF founded by Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, a former fashion designer is poised to extend a helping hand to widows, their children as well as orphans via donations, scholarships and vocational training.
Within the last five years, the Foundation has successfully provided micro credits to 973 widows, educational scholarships to 1,366 widow’s children and 88 orphans towards strengthening the enabling environment for widows and orphans in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo States.
A feasibility study from the foundation found out that there are over 5000 widows in Benue (highest number in Nigeria) out of which 2000 are registered with ROSF and are predominantly farmers.
ROSF will focus on agriculture in Benue over the next couple of years by facilitate subsidization of fertilizer, introduction of mechanized farming, provision of storage facilities for widows’ farm produce, enterprise development training, and educational support for interested widows, their children, and orphans.
Founded over eight years ago, Alakija, a woman of many parts, has through the foundation affected a lot lives. She is a woman who believes in touching the lives of the less privileged to honor God and to thank God for God’s favour and grace in her life. The fashion designer-cum-businesswoman believes in “whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.”