Chris Bamidele Onolaja Foundation/Forum of Egba Rotary Fetes 100 Widows With Cash Gifts In Ogun

By: Ajewanle Shukurat Modupeola

No fewer than 100 widows have been empowered by Chris Bamidele Onolaja Foundation from various locations in Abeokuta, Ogun State with a cash gifts and also received a spiritual empowerment (book of God).

The empowerment programme was done in conjunction with forum of Egba Rotary Club, held at Rotary house, Abeokuta, the state capital. 

Our correspondent gathered that the idea for the widows empowerment programme originated from the personal experience of Abdulwadood Oyegunle, whose vision to empower widows was inspired by the loss of his own mother at a young age. This heartfelt story caught the attention of Chris Bamidele Onalaja and his wife Mrs Tolulope Onalaja, the founder of the Chris Bamidele Onolaja Foundation, during a Rotary Leadership Training Program held in Lagos State. The foundation and the Rotary Club were deeply moved by Abdulwadood's dedication and decided to join forces to turn his vision into a reality.

The foundation's founder, Chris Bamidele Onalaja while addressing journalists explained that the initiative was to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the foundation existence and to celebrate wife's birthday, therefore decided to bring it to Abeokuta to make a positive impact on the lives of widows and to bring Abdulwadood visions to live. 
According to him "As we commemorate the 5th anniversary of our foundation's existence, we find ourselves in Abeokuta for the first time, embarking on yet another significant endeavor to make a positive impact on the lives of widows.

"Our foundation's mission revolves around the empowerment of widows, a cause that resonates deeply with my wife's passion and commitment."

"Tomorrow, February 14, as we celebrate my wife birthday, she has orchestrated a special program, and the central theme she wishes to convey to widows is that no amount of money is inconsequential."
Onalaja explained that the foundation's outreach doesn't end with the annual birthday events, rather, they extend hands to widows three times a year, on my birthday, my wife's birthday, and during Christmas, we provide essential items like groundnut oil and rice to ensure they can celebrate these occasions with joy.

Since our foundation's inception, we take pride in having empowered over 2,000 widows. However, our sights are set on an even more ambitious goal for this year – empowering 5,000 widows by May. This aligns with my wife's approaching 50th birthday, and we trust in the grace of God that we will achieve this milestone, Mr Onalaja said.

On her parts, Mrs Tolulope Onalaja while going down memory lane hinted that the journey began five years ago when the foundation started with ten widows, each receiving a hundred thousand, adding that the beneficiaries did not only utilized the funds wisely but also initiated businesses that flourished.

Mrs Omolara explained the foundation were happy with the transformative power, therefore expanded the reach from ten to forty widows the following year by providing fifty thousand each and essential tools such as Grounding machines.
Her words "The heartwarming testimonials we received were profound. From starting small businesses to covering household expenses, these widows demonstrated that seemingly modest contributions could bring about significant changes. This realization has been a driving force behind our ongoing commitment to widows.

"Looking ahead, we are engaged in ambitious projects. We are currently in the process of building an ultramodern maternity center in Amuwo, a project estimated to cost about a hundred million. This world-class facility aims to provide free birthing services, ensuring access to quality healthcare for expectant mothers."

"Additionally, our foundation oversees a fully free primary school named Tolu and Dele in Ikorodu, operating for four years now. It was established and is run entirely by us. In the next phase, we aspire to construct a large secondary school, ensuring that children can receive free education from nursery to secondary levels. Looking even further into the future, we dream of establishing a free university, creating a seamless educational journey for those in need, Mrs Onalaja concluded. 

Speaking earlier, the District Governor of Rotary International District 9110, Rotarian Ifeyinwa Rita Ejezie advised the beneficiaries to make use of the financial support judiciously. 

She said the cash gifts to the widows is not just financial support, rather its a symbol that despite life's challenges, God has not forgotten them. 

Rotarian Ejezie who also spoke on the significance of the event shared the incredible impact of the recent Rotary Leadership Training Program, a gathering of over 800 dynamic youths, across Lagos and Ogun State.

She hinted that at the event, , Abdulwadood a participant who lost his mother at the tender age of eight, took upon himself to establish a foundation supporting widows. His compelling story caught the attention of Chris from the Bamidele Onolaja Foundation, who pledged to empower widows in Abdul's hometown, Abeokuta.

"Today is a testament to that commitment. In collaboration with Rotary Clubs in Abeokuta to empower 100 widows. The Bamidele Onolaja Foundation, in conjunction with a generous cousin, has contributed a total of 4 million naira, ensuring each widow receives 40,000 naira."

This exemplifies the essence of Rotary – a beacon of hope, supporting the less privileged, and empowering those in need. We believe in creating positive change in the world, and this act reinforces our dedication to that cause. To the widows gathered here, this is not just financial support; it's a symbol that, despite life's challenges, God has not forgotten you. As Rotary continues to make a positive impact, let this be a source of inspiration and hope.", the District Governor explained. 

The event also witnessed the foundation's cousin, Mr and Mrs Shoronke also made additional 1million donation to the 3million naira the foundation donated earlier, and each widow go home with 40,000 each. 

One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Aweda Folashade who spoke on behalf of other beneficiaries expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the donor, Chris Bamidele Onalaja Foundation for putting smiles on their faces, saying that the kinds gesture is beyond her imagination. 

Mrs Aweda revealed that since she lost his husband, today is the first time she will be receiving empowerment for widows, she therefore prayed fervently that may the good lord continue to protect and guide the donor.

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