The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Embassy Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals Limited, Pharm. (Sir) Nnamdi Obi, has commended The Roses Ministry, a faith-based non-governmental organisation, focusing on alleviating the plights of widows, orphans and vulnerable persons in the society, over its annual Widows’ Day programme.
Speaking at the latest edition of the programme, held at the Gymnastics Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, with the theme “Made for God’s Pleasure”, the respected pharmacist lauded the effort of the coordinator of the ministry, Pharm. Regina Ezenwa, in sustaining the programme, despite the economic challenges in the country.
Addressing Ezenwa, Obi remarked: “When I walked in this morning, I thought I had entered a venue meant for a political rally when I saw the numerous gift items meant to be shared and a large crowd that was already seated. I must be sincere, you are a Godsent to these people and I pray that as you are putting smiles on their faces, God will reward you and give you fulfillment of your desires.”
The keynote speaker of the event, Hon. Justice Rose Ukeje, a retired chief justice of the High Court, while commending The Roses Ministry for the gesture, took some time to comfort and advise the widows present at the event.
According to her: “Being a widow does not mean it’s the end of your life, as life is what you make of it. So I want to advise and appeal to you today to ensure you live a fulfilling life, irrespective of your present situation.”
Speaking on how she came up with the vision to start the ministry, the coordinator, Pharm. Regina Ezenwa said the ministry was the result of a divine call she received, adding that, since inception, it had indeed come a long way as the initiative now has several children on scholarship.
Noting that six of students on the ministry’s scholarship had already graduated, she added that the figure would soon increase to ten by next year.
“We have made it a duty to provide assistance, as well as restore the dignity of life, especially for vulnerable widows. So we have, as part of our programmes, to train at least a child per indigent widow. Presently, we have six graduates, with four of them awaiting NYSC, two awaiting results and several applications awaiting sponsors,” Ezenwa said.
On the reason for giving out free drugs to the participants, she said, “We don’t want anybody to die from lack of drugs. You can even ask those around if anybody paid for her drugs. No. Besides, all the pharmacists you see dispensing drugs here today are volunteers residing or running their stores in Surulere. They even came with free drugs to show solidarity and identify with the programme,” she noted.
She explained further that, at the inception of the Widow’s Day programme some years back, about 50 widows were in attendance, noting that in subsequent years, however, the number grew to about 100.
“But by 2016, the number had increased to 1000, which eventually has doubled by this year,” she stated.
Ezenwa observed that reason the number keeps rising is because virtually all the women were coming along with fellow widows who had not heard of the ministry through.
“We have empowered the youths through seminars and Bible counseling. Some orphanage homes have also benefited from the Foundation‘s largesse. The ministry will continue to work towards its goal of bringing succour and healing to the homes of these widows, while restoring broken marriages and relationships,” she said.
In her appreciation to The Roses Ministry, one of the beneficiary widows, Mrs Grace Obasi, said she heard about the ministry six years ago and, since then, her life had changed for the better.
“I have six children and the ministry, apart from feeding and catering for us, has also taught me how to make a living,” she said.
Another beneficiary, Mrs Chinyere Chukwu, said, “When my husband died, life became hell for me and my three children; but when I joined the ministry, they turned my life around and they have been taking good care of my children, as well.”
This year’s edition of the programme featured praise and worship, drama, free medical screening and counselling and giving out of relief materials, ranging from Bibles, Ankara fabrics, bags of rice, drinks, to tomato pastes, loaves of bread, vegetable oil, toiletries and drugs to the widows.
Dignitaries who attended the event included Wole Olufon, international director, Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International (FGBMFI); Lady Olusola Fasanmi; and Ven. Igien Isemede.
Others were Barr. (Mrs) Ijeoma Chuks-Okoye; Engr Obidi Ezenwa; and Mrs Stella Kragha, the three of whom are trustees of the ministry.