In a bid to ease the burden of current economic pressures on women and girl survivors of various forms of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), two non-profits recently teamed up to offer them support.
The Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE) and Hearts100 held a three-day empowerment training session for the survivors at Ota, Ogun State, recently.
The training which held at Sango-Ota in Ado-odo/Ota Local Government Area of Oguu State, brought together 30 women drawn from various communities across the state. It featured intensive training in bag making, cosmetics skills, soap making and pastries.
Besides the GBV survivors, the trainees also included women with disabilities. In addition, the program featured sensitization sessions on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), rape prevention as well as counselling sessions for trainees. At the end of the training, all the participants were given business grants.
Betty Abah, founder and Executive Director of CEE-HOPE, in a charge to the participants, explained one of the reasons the program was organised.
Abah said, “we targeted GBV survivors because when you are financially stable, you can easily walk out of abusive and life-threatening relationships and continue to thrive. But in the absence of that, you may find yourself stuck in the relationship, covering up for someone who is destroying you.”
She further admonished the women to make the most of the training, stating; “When you have a skill, you have no idea how far it can take you.”
One of the participants, Taiwo Gbolahan, appreciated the organisers, adding that, “the training was perfect and very educational. I believe it will help those of us who are not financially stable. We really appreciate CEE-HOPE and Hearts100 for this opportunity they gave to us.”
For Mrs Justina Mbierem, a widow and mother of two, the skills training was economically empowering. “With what I learnt from catering, I have started a small business; I now sell puff-puff and buns to the school children that pass by my house in the morning. I am very grateful for this training,’ she added.
Speaking with the same excitement, Green Folashade stated, “I have already started putting what I learnt in bag making it to use. All the knowledge I got added to what I know will help my business go a long way. I am so grateful for all the counselling, the sessions and the training we were given.”
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Hearts100 has collaborated with CEE-HOPE to offer relief support to thousands of women and children in several states across Nigeria, including Lagos, Benue, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Plateau, Ogun among others. Besides providing skills training and business grants as its empowerment initiative, Hearts100 also offers sensitization programs on Female Genital Mutilation, a harmful cultural practice that affects millions of women across the world predominantly in Africa.
The practice is still prevalent in several parts of Nigeria. Hearts100 also runs a shelter for GBV survivors in Lagos, which, like the rest of the program, is coordinated by CEE-HOPE. The skills training is the third in the series this year.