I am Using My Pension To Fend For Indigent Women, Girl-child – Uzo-Okamgba

I am Using My Pension To Fend For Indigent Women, Girl-child – Uzo-Okamgba

By Joel Ajayi

While other Nigerians well to do persons who should have influence the need to carter for and fight against ill-treatment and give voice to the issue of violence against women and girls in the country but only few human beings with large heart can actually represent God on this.

Mrs. Christina Chibuzor Uzo-Okamgba has taken it up to take care of these vulnerable women in our society using her pension.

After 35-years of labour in the civil service many people believe that the gratuity or pension is meant for enjoyment and only for the pensioner but for the generous Mrs Uzo-Okamgba who has made a difference showing so much affection and taken responsibilities of the vulnerable women.

Disturbed by the bitter experiences of less privileged women and girls in the country, an Ambassador For Peace and Fellow of International Institute of Leadership and Governance, Uzo-Okamgba whose heart bleeds seeing helpless and hopeless girl-child established an empowerment initiatives known as Tabitha Empowerment Center with the motto: “Rebuilding lives” to help victims of societal-ills and maladministration.

Violence against women and girls is a hidden global crisis that knows no bounds of geography or culture. But poor and uneducated women and girl-child are the most victims of violence perpetrated by their male counterparts.

This inhumane treatment against women is a global pandemic, in fact, AljazirahNigeria gathered through World Health Organization report that 1 in 3 women experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.

Also, Report scooped by AljazirahNigeria revealed that, 650 million women alive today were married as children; 200 million women have undergone female genital mutilation; 35 percent of women experienced violence at the hands of their partners in their lifetime while women and girls together account for 71 percent of all human trafficking victims detected globally.

A recent video of violence against woman, showing a medical Doctor and the wife of a Channels Television Reporter Pius Angbo, on social media, Ifeanyinwa Angbo, in the video, with a reddened face and tears streaming down her face, appealed to the public for help over repeated incidents of assault by her husband.

Ifeanyinwa has been married to Pius for six years and has given birth to four children. In those six years of marriage, she has “not known peace”. She said the latest assault was a result of her advice to her husband to cease spending lavishly on concubines and cater for his four children.

This scenario was just one out of a thousand of what women are facing in the society of which many are dying in silence.

This evil that is murder the peace of our society wouldn’t have existed if we have few of Mrs  Uzo-Okamgba  a retiree and a Matron of many religious and social organizations, who have over the years embarked on aggressive advocacy, awareness, and empowerment of many victims of this satanic acts.

Tabitha Empowerment Center was established in 2017, concerned about the increasing spate of domestic violence and since then it has assisted women in diverse ways out of which 10 cases of domestic violence and widow’s deprivation among others have been successfully handled and still counting.

Since its inception, the center has invested in over 400 women and girls in order to accelerate socio-economic and political development through peaceful, equitable, and inclusive society.

Through Tabitha, many women across the country have witnessed turn around in their health, education, welfare, and financial provision.

Determined to reduce the violence against women to the barest minimum in the country, TEC, a non-governmental and non-profit organization on Saturday December 19th, 2020, took advocacy initiative to Kurudu Community in the Federal Capital Territory to sensitize, educate and improve skills and knowledge of women on all forms of gender-based violence that is spreading like whirl-fire in the society.

While speaking at the 2020 end of the year annual sensitization programme for the women; the founder of Tabitha Mrs. Uzo-Okamgba said putting smiles on many faces remains her priority since she entered the age of maturity.

“The objective of today’s gathering is to sensitize women on domestic violence because our primary assignment is geared toward combating the menace of domestic violence and we all know that in our society, domestic violence has become a menace and it really affects a lot of women and even some men.

“One out of three women face one form of domestic violence or the others and the rate is increasing by the day that is why we are here to sensitize women to enable them to speak up because a lot of them have died in silence while many are still suffering from the scars of this evil in our society.

“Again, we are here to empower widows because we do not only concentrate on domestic violence alone, we empower the widows, we take care of the orphans and vulnerable in our society,” she said.

When asked who is bankrolling her? She smiled and expressed: “I have passion for helping people and that I can say, I inherited it from my mother and my grandmother, seeing people suffering, it pains me, it makes my heart bleed, I am a retiree, presently I am using my pension to do all these.

“I have not gotten any fund from any quarter; not from Nigeria or outside the country, but when I see people happy, it equally makes me happy.

“So, I have been trying in my own little way to ensure that I put food on their tables, I equally counsel and advise women on how to go about life.

“I have empowered over 400 widows even paid school fees of some widows’ children.

“I have been surviving, though, last year, I beckoned on some of my colleagues and some of them answered but I can say it here that 75% of fund comes from my pension, its God that is sustaining me and I prayed that by the grace of God next year, I will be able to get grants from the government to be able to do it better.

“I want TEC to be heard worldwide not by name, but by the positive impacts, by torching more lives, by putting more smiles on people’s faces”, she prayed.

When a question was put to her, if any of her children will follow her footsteps in empowering women, she answered: “the two Lawyers, I have by the grace of God are very wonderful, they are supporting, they are very kind, they can even laid their life for someone, they are instrumental to Tabitha Empowerment Center. I am not saying other children are not trying but two Lawyers among them singled themselves out”.

“Like mother, like daughter”,  in her remarks, the Advocacy Officer/Project Manager Tabitha Empowerment Centre, a Human Rights Lawyer, Barr. Gladys Emmanuel expressed that: “it is a way of marking the organization’s end of year activities and to sensitize more women on violence against women.

“Our goal is to reduce one out of three women that are experiencing violence or molestation or the other”.

She, therefore, promised that the organization will not relent in its effort to ensure the issue of violence against women is reduced to the barest minimum.

“To be honest with you, since the inception of this organization we have reached out to over 400 persons and we are still counting. Putting a smile on the women’s face is just the icing on the cake for me.”

While highlighting the different forms of violence against women, the Representative from the International Federation of Women Lawyers FIDA Abuja chapter Mrs. Amarachi C. explained that beating is not only an act of violence against women but anything someone does to another person that hurts a person is an act of violence.

She said: “Violence against women and girls takes many different forms, including domestic violence, sexual assault and harassment, child, early and forced marriage, sex trafficking, so-called ‘honor’ crimes and female genital mutilation.”

Mrs. Amarachi however, encouraged Nigerians not to shy away from reporting any violence in their locality to appropriate authority saying there would be a severe punishment for any perpetrator.

One of the beneficiaries, Charity Ayogu, expressed her delight over the gesture, adding that the assistance would go a long way in putting smiles on the faces of her household.

She, however, called on the organizer to continue the good work that the Almighty God will reward her. Meanwhile, violence against women and girls not only devastates women’s lives and divides communities, it locks women into poverty. So it is time for us all, women, men, girls, boys, and key public actors to end violence against women and girl-child.

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