By Bianca Iboma-Emefu

As part of its empowerment Initiative, for the less privilege in the society, Rotary Club of Lagos West, on Tuesday April 23, 2024, donated five grinding machines, three sewing machines, three drilling machine, five barbing kits, one wheelchairs and cash of N50, 000 to ten women.

“The club embarked on this gesture, in order to improve the lots of indigent Nigerians and equally create a source of income for them to meet up with demands of their personal needs and families.

Some of the persons who received the equipment and cash are widows, while others included single mothers, youths, wives and other indigent persons in Amuwo-Odofin, Lagos State.

“Addressing the beneficiaries, shortly after handing over the items to them, is a Past District Governor (DG) of Rotary International District 9110, covering all the Rotary Clubs in Lagos and Ogun , Rotarian Kola Sodipo congratulated the beneficiaries for being among those that received the club’s philanthropy.

Sodipo explained that the empowerment scheme was aimed at giving them the privilege to have an earning ability.
Stressing the need to impact more lives, especially now that the economy was dwindling, the club, decided to support them.

He charged the beneficiaries of the initiative to make use of the equipment judiciously. Stressing that the programme was part of the Rotary year programmes and encouraged members of the club to see to the welfare of the indigent through empowerment programmes.

Also, the oldest member of the club, Rotarian Lateef Afodun appealed to the government to create enabling environment for SMEs. There should be basic social amenities, for people to eke a living. He lamented that the suffering was much on indigent Nigerians.

Afodun said one of the core objectives of Rotary is to give a helping hand to the needy and the less privileged. Rotary is committed to serving humanity and reach out to the needy.

“In this country of ours, we need people to be entrepreneurs, self-reliant, rather than looking for jobs and this is one of the great things that we have been done today, touching lives.

Afodun advised them to take care of the machines because from one, you can grow to plenty; every business started with a seed and this is a seed that has been given to you and you can grow it in such a way that it can become an empire.”

He urged the beneficiaries to use the equipment given to them well and also use it to impact positively on people around them.

On her part, president of the club, Omolara Akinsanya, said Rotary was concerned over the plight of indigent Nigerians and “we are committed to finding ways of alleviating poverty and hunger in the land, which is in line with humanitarian services.”

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Akinsanya added:”We want the beneficiaries to see what we are giving today as a fruit that will expand and benefit others. I pray that God will make this donations fruitful and impactful to many others.”
“This afternoon we have come together to give the little we can. We believe that the little we have given to the beneficiaries will go a long way to impact on their lives, their children and the people around them. We are not giving them for their own benefit alone, but for the people around them.”

Past Assistant Governor and project Chair person, Rotarian Kefe Adedibu said before they embarked on that project, they carried out a need assessment exercise,where they visited the market,different families in the neighborhood and some religious organizations to get people. After screening them but only 27 persons were selected and empowered.

“So we have to empower some of the widows with cash because they are selling in the market and others with vocational tools like grinding ,sewing machines to expand their business.
“We will continue to monitor their activities to encourage them and see other areas where we can assist them.

Adedibu applauded Rotary Club International for their efforts towards touching lives. In Rotary we provide service to others, promote integrity, advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.

She said the Rotary Club’s guiding principles include the Four-Way Test (Truth, Fairness, Goodwill and Friendship). Other principles involve Rotary’s commitment to service above self.

Some of the beneficiaries, expressed joy and gratitude to the club members for taking this
giant strides to uplift them.

One of the beneficiaries Mrs. Sarah Owotobo who was part of the three persons given, a sewing machines said it was a joyous moment for her. As a professional tailor, I have been struggling to acquire another sewing machine because the one I am currently using is old and worn out.

“Now, my dream has come true, as i was gifted a brand new sewing machine to complement my fashion and design business.

Also, Eric-Obi Janet, a retired teacher, now a petty trader said the grinding machine, given to her would boost her business. “If you come to my shop, you will understand exactly my plight and how grateful I am receiving this gift.”

Another beneficiary who was given a drilling machine, Morgan Emmanuel became so excited and filled with joy. He sang, danced, thanked God and his benefactors for rekindling his hope, providing means for him to feed and support his expenses.

Also, a middle aged man who preferred to be anonymous said he was knocked down by a trailer and he lost his leg. Ever since the incident things have been difficult but I got the gift of a wheel chair, to assist my movement and I appreciate the club’s kind gesture towards me

Narrating his ordeal, he said that he was a roadside barbeque dealer. He was earning an income before the unfortunate incident. With the aid of this I will be able to move around.

“Applauding the club, he stated that the gesture was an inroad to a better life and a future that looks brighter than he ever imagined considering the economic hardship at the moment.

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