The Shola Adefolalu Gaska Foundation (also known as The Sholly Smile Factory) recently launched a shelter known as The Sholly Serenity Place. The shelter will serve as a ‘Safe Haven and an Oasis of Serenity for vulnerable women, victims of domestic/sexual abuse,’ according to a press statement by the foundation. The facility is located in Lagos.
The Shola Adefolalu Gaska Foundation is a non-profit organization set up to bring smiles to the faces of people in need (especially women and children) by providing them financial, emotional, and spiritual support. According to the Foundation, “Our mandate is to provide safe and caring temporary accommodation for these women while they work with organizations such as the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), Women at Risk International Foundation WARIF), Mirabel Centre, Project Alert amongst others to get the required help and counseling they need. Guests referred to us will be accommodated, fed, and cared for totally free.’
‘Today, there are fewer than 25 shelters across Nigeria so this move by the Sholly Smile Factory is most welcome. The hope is that this will encourage more private organizations and individuals to step into this space and help save lives. Research shows that women who have access to safe temporary accommodation are less likely to return to an environment where their lives are in danger.
Since April 2017 when it kicked off operations, the foundation has put smiles on the faces of men, women, and children across the country by providing financial assistance to abuse survivors, widows, and other at-risk persons as well as academic scholarships to young people. Between May 2020 and today, the Sholly Smile Factory has given out over 200 COVID-19 care packages containing foodstuffs to families in need across Lagos state.
Present at the launch were Ohunene Scott-Ananaba, Henry Essien Nelson, Ibiye Osio
Salt Essien-Nelson, Bunmi Oluwole, Betty Abah, Unyime-Ivy King and Lara Kayode, Bridget Elesin, and Willie Walkman.
The shelter’s service comes at a much needed given the high incidences of sexual and gender-based based violence (SGBV) in Nigeria and across the world, many of them propelled by the pressures borne on many homes and relationships by COVID-19-induced socioeconomic destabilizations. The foundation’s services will be available for abused women across Nigeria.