No fewer than 500 widows and orphans in Lagos State have benefitted from the Heritage Bank’s empowerment as the bank received the 2022 United Nations Award for Humanitarian Service from the Widows & Orphans Support Society of Nigeria (WOSSA).
This was made known during the award ceremony held in Lagos to mark this year’s International Widows Day themed: 'Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow'.
Speaking during the awards presentation, Tayo Thomas, Founder, of Widows & Orphans Support Society of Nigeria (WOSSA), said Heritage Bank is one of the group’s key partners and has for years shown massive support to the widows.
"Basically, we are giving this award to people and organizations that have been supporting the less privileged widows.
"These are our partners, they have been doing great service to humanity, especially serving the less privileged widows in meeting their financial needs and those of their children.
“The United Nations Humanitarian Award is to appreciate and acknowledge them for their support to the less privileged widows.
“The United Nations Humanitarian Award is an award we give every 24th of June to those who have supported the widows.
"Those who have joined us to fight against injustice against the widows.”
Speaking at the event, Olawale Osundele, Heritage Bank Regional Head, Lagos Island 1, said the bank has for years, remained committed to improving people’s lives.
“It has always been one of our front liners to always improve the quality of people’s lives right from childhood.
"And today that they are marking International Widow’s Day, we are also part of the support team to WOSSA in various aspects.”
“We have been supporting them in terms of providing quality education for children of widows to ensure that life after the death of their husband is still good to them and their children.
"We also support the children, orphans, and the less privileged in society,” he added.
According to Osundele, the bank’s support to the widows has always been a source of joy to them.
“It means that life still means a lot to them. You can see the joy on their faces.
"Despite what they are going through, they are still very happy and relevant in society,” he said.
One of the widows at the event, Felicia Ugwunwanne appreciated the Heritage Bank and WOSSA for their continuous support to the widows and less privileged.
She said that WOSSA is through the support of partners such as Heritage Bank, making life better for the widows and their children.
“The WOSSA has been assisting so many of us for years, including our children and orphanages.
"WOSSA gives us cash, helps some widows to pay their house rent, school fees for widows’ children, among other things,” she said.
Ugwunwanne said the widows under WOSSA are being trained to acquire skills to improve their quality of life.
“I am aware that the WOSSA is working on securing a loan from Microfinance Bank, and we have completed forms to achieve the purpose. Our members are prepared to access the loans.
“Some of the widows have gone to learn some skills that will enable them to invest and succeed in whatever craft or business they are doing so that they will not continue to depend on people,” she said.
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