The Rose of Sharon Foundation (RoSF), founded by businesswoman and oil mogul, Folorunso Alakija, on May 23, 2008, is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Mrs Alakija’s vision at inception of the foundation was to come up with schemes that guarantee financial independence and educational opportunities for widows and orphans to assure greater self-esteem and ease of socio-economic integration.
The foundation hasn’t just stopped there; just last year it launched a youth empowerment scheme which trained over 100 youth enabling them to become part of the country’s working class.
It also boasts several educational, mentorship and skills acquisition programs for the widows.
Over the years, it has managed to empower thousands of widows who are now able to function without needing assistance from the foundation.
A journey that started with three widows in 2008 has culminated into a network of almost a thousand widows today.
Since inception, RoSF has empowered 970 widows – 11 of whom are in university – awarded scholarships to 1,366 widow’s children and 72 orphans.
The loans to widows are interest-free and the scholarships have no conditions attached. It has also provided accommodation for residential/business purposes for 82 widows.
Mrs Elizabeth Njoku, a member of ROSF, said: “Today two of my kids are in university. One is in final year and the other is in her second year.
“Mrs Alakija is a God-send. What my family, in-laws, pastors could not do, she’s done. I have taken several interest-free loans. I just took my third one. She does not discriminate not even based on ethnicity. I want to thank her because I am amazed when I look back and see how far I’ve come.”