Bolanle Ambode and her silent revolution
Considering its ever growing population, commercial status and cosmopolitan nature, Lagos State could surely make do with varied collaborations with individuals, organisations and other stakeholders for accelerated growth. It is from this perspective that the efforts of Office of the Wife of Lagos State Governor in providing a huge boost for Lagos development should be commended. Lagos’ First Lady, Her Excellency Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, is currently engendering a silent revolution that is offering priceless succour to Lagosians across all divides.
Through her Foundation, Hope for Women in Nigeria Initiative, HOFOWEM, Mrs. Ambode is giving a new definition to the art of social work and community development in the country. HOFOWEM’s key area of influence is Lagos State, particularly the rural communities. One of the themes for the actualization of HOFOWEM’s goals is “Hope for Children through which it seeks to help rehabilitate Vulnerable Children and encourage the education of disadvantaged children in the society. Similarly, the wellbeing and health care of deprived children is also one core aspect HOFOWEM deems vital in its plans. The “HOFOWEM Scholarship Scheme is another central part of the Hope for Children initiative.
Since the inauguration of HOFOWEM, Mrs. Ambode has been using the platform to put smiles on faces of the less privileged in the society. In the first quarter of the year, HOFOWEM concentrated on empowering widows, other foundations, and mothers with multiple births and also funded major surgical procedures for many people. This is not surprising as a crucial goal of HOFOWEM is to touch and transform lives as well as create sustainable means for the underprivileged in the society.
One good thing about HOFOWEM is that, though the name suggests a woman interest organisation, the truth, however, is that its focus is all encompassing. For instance, pupils, indigent students, widows, multiple birth mothers, orphans and many others have received varied degrees of helps from HOFOWEM at one time or the other. The Foundation did its maiden empowerment programme on March 7th, this year, when widows, sick women and mothers with multiple births, were supported in various ways.
One unique thing about HOFOWEM’s scope of operation is that it creatively covers assorted areas of interests. Thus, from time to time, the Foundation comes up with a variety of innovative ideas aimed at bettering the lots of hapless folks in the society. The idea is to ensure that, as much as possible, through strategic and inventive thinking, it comes up with robust initiatives to address emerging and critical needs of the less privileged.
Considering current harsh economic realities in the country and its attendant consequences, HOFOWEM’s novel approach to social intervention is quite admirable. A major benefit of this strategy is that as new challenges surface, the people are not left in the cooler for too long before help comes.
In furtherance of this novel social intervention philosophy, HOFOWEM recently distributed gift items to 230 expectant mothers in Alausa, Ikeja. Packaged under the banner of HOFOWEM “Hope for Expectant Mothers?? support programme, the initiative was aimed at reducing maternal and infant mortality. Through the programme provision was made for 230 expectant mothers with baby mattresses, Nursing Mum’s packs which contained all the necessary baby essentials from thermometers to breastfeeding covers among others.
At the event, it was revealed that basic hygiene and good sanitary habits for pregnant women could play a key role in reducing maternal and infant mortality.
Speaking at the occasion, Mrs. Ambode disclosed that: ‘All too often, infants are usually at risk of infection, diarrhea, poor growth and many common diseases associated with unhygienic habits. The act of washing hands is so simple, yet we do not see it as a game-changing solution??.
Beneficiaries of the support programme were drawn from the 20 local government and 37 development areas of the state. At the event, a total of about 230 pregnant women were given complete delivery packs which include: Baby and mother beds, sanitary pads, towels, beverages, thermometer, shawl, diapers, breastfeeding net, traveling bed, sanitizers, amongst others.
A major highlight of the event is the distribution of shoes and socks to 175,000 public primary school pupils in Lagos State. The central and underlining philosophy behind the laudable gesture is primarily to ensure that no pupil is denied the joy and fulfillment of schooling on the basis of lack of shoes and other such basic necessities. Considering that a former President of the country once made the subject of “I had no shoe?? a crucial electoral campaign issue, this particular intervention of HOFOWEM should be vastly appreciated.
The platform of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials, COWLSO, is another avenue the First Lady has been using to impact lives. COWLSO recently donated the first state-of-theart Ear, Nose and Throat (E.N.T) equipment in the state to General Hospital in Odan, Lagos Island. It also flagged off free Goiters surgery and distribution of hearing aids to selected women, men and children who were picked after medical screening carried out by the officials of the state. COWLSO also recently concluded its 2016 conference which brought together eminent women (and men) across the world including First Lady, Aisha Buhari.
According to James Milson, the real essence of life is in the number of lives that one is able to positively touch. With the lives she has touched thus far, Mrs. Ambode, no doubt, understands the real essence of life.
Ogunbiyi is of the Features Unit, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.