By Patrick Ochei
As defenders and restorers of the dignity of women, the Stand-Up For Women Society (SWS), Delta State Chapter has yet again, taken up the initiative of conducting husiness trainings for women in the Internally Displaced Persons Camps across Delta State.
This programme held on, Thursday 27th October, 2022, flagged off at the Ogbe-Afor IDPs Camp in Asaba, with a charge that the women should look beyond their present predicament of hopelessness by seeing an opportunity that would launch them into an unimaginable position of comfort in life.
Speaking to them motivationally before the commencement of the programme, the State Chairperson of SWS and Functioning Permanent Secretary in the State Orientation Bureau, Mrs. Stella Macaulay told the women not to be depressed about their present circumstance orchestrated by the flood disaster that ravaged their homes and farmlands, asking them to instead, look up to God for help and direction.
Macaulay who intermittently sang and danced with the women, encouraged them to see opportunity in their coming to the camp to seek refuge and relief, maintaining that in the mindset of God, every disappointment is a blessing.
She told them that the SWS was in the camp not only to train them on skills required to begin life again after the camp, she assured them of Empowerment that can enable them to start little after the camp experience.
Her words, “In our 365 days of impact as a group, we have been able to truly bridge the gap between the women folk and the men folk in terms of creating mindset reorientation in women to realise their potentials and strive towards fulfilling their purpose on earth.
“Because of the aggressive nature of men, a lot of women are laid back in contributing their quota to the growth and development of society. However, if only the society can allow the women the opportunity to make contributions towards economic and political value system of our country, they will surely excel and perform optimally.
“This programme is put together to alleviate the suffering of the women in the circle of those affected by the flood, by way of putting smiles in their faces and reassuring them of God’s intervention in their case.
“We have discovered the enormous benefits of engaging in dry season farming – a situation where plants are harvested between 3-4 months and can be done twice in a circle of one year. We know that majority of these women are farmers and now heartbroken by the disaster caused them by the flood. Our agenda here is to engage them as they prepare to return to base, so as to upscale to other businesses and still do farming that they can benefit from during rainy and dry seasons without always developing hypertension that flood is going to come to flush away their crops. And that is why we have brought experts in various areas of farming and skills, to impart in them the requisite knowledge to drive their future in the midst of surmountable predicaments”, Macaulay posited.
Further evaluating the acceptance of the message by the women, the group’s Chairperson told newsmen that from the sequence of the event, the local dialect was extensively used to drive down the orientation and training for easy communication, adding that “I am sure they appreciate this effort by their responses, which to me is a perfect feedback.
“These skills will help them to productively engage themselves as they begin life again after the flood”, she stressed.
Macaulay insisted that fund does not pose challenge to her in carrying out her functions as a humanitarian service oriented NGO, maintaining that the focus of SWS wouldn’t let her deter in meeting the needs of majority of traumatised and less privileged women in the society.
She gave a brief background of the achievements of SWS since inauguration in Delta State, scoring the group excellently in tangible performances.
Macaulay hinted that the group’s Live Programme for Adolescents and Youths (LPAY) had helped it to professionally educate the children on what they can do to minimise the effect of social vices on them while making positive effort to become better through imbibing the requisite values and morals for their future benefits.
She equally talked of how the group had rendered psychosocial support to a young lady who got pregnant through rape and almost committed suicide, adding that SWS came in to assist her rehabilitate among other cases the group had been rendering rehabilitations to.
“We have a platform for Real Women Conversation where lots of women who had abi initio bottled up their pains and sorrows are now beginning to speak up. So many of them had even slided into trauma and depression, majorly as a result of rape and domestic violence. Meanwhile, our coming into their lives has helped to open them up to discuss those issues that bothered them.
“The fact that the IDPs are alive means that God is not through with them yet. And the fact remains that they need as much help as they can get. This knowledge we are imparting in them is key and surely, the Empowerment that will come to them will further encourage them not to start recounting their pains”, Macaulay explained.
However, the training sessions had Mr. Kalu I. Kalu teaching the women the benefits of snail farming and of course, the economic values of crops like pawpaw and coconut.
Of much interest was that the woman who invented Zobo drink in Nigeria, Mrs. Rebecca Isagba was there to teach them how to make Zobo, while Miss Patrick Lynde Oluomachukwu (makers of Richlyn soap products) also brought her expertise in soap making to bear, for the benefit of the IDPs.
They also learnt how to make pof-pof and other snacks from Teggy Tag Confectionaries, and both the trainer and the trainees ended up making enough for majority in the camp to feed from.
In a nutshell, the Camp Commandant, Mr. Okpor Daniel was pleased with the humanitarian gesture by the Stand-Up For Women Society, thereby commending them for their selfless humanity towards the IDPs, especially the women among them.
He prayed that God would continue to replenish the purse of the NGO to continue to bring succour to the hopeless and sorrowful with a view to creating a society of lovely and peaceful people.
Nonetheless, one Mrs. Maria Okelue thanked the Stand-Up For Women Society for their selfless concern on behalf of the IDPs, however, appealing to other relevant agencies to come to their aid to enable them return back happily to farming.