The 5th Set of the beneficiaries of the Women Empowerment Program under the the Zakah and Waqf Foundation, Gombe, have undergone a semi-final graduation ceremony on Sunday morning, the 13th of March, 2022. The actual graduation ceremony and inauguration of new empowerees (6th Set) is expected to hold after Ramadan.
The beneficiaries who were inaugurated on 14th February, 2021 numbering 88, were each given a N10, 000 start up capital. Those who were able to reach the finish line were about 40 in number. The ceremony had the attendance of the Chairman of the Foundation, and the Heads of Women Empowerment, Education and Training, and the Chairperson of Wadata Multipurpose Cooperative Society (WAMCOS) among other members of the Foundation.
The welcome speech was given by the Head of Women Empowerment, Malama Maryam Yaya, where she thanked the beneficiaries for their doggedness in completing a full year of biweekly meetings, savings and enlightenment, as they were able to save close to N1, 200,000 since 28th February, 2021. The Chairman of the Occasion in person of the Vice Chairperson of the Foundation, QS Ahmad M. Kabir also gave a speech thanking the Head l of Women Empowerment for her tireless efforts and doggedness in keeping the Program alive and functioning. He prayed that Allah bless what has been sought and make it a pave way in reducing the poverty levels in Gombe State at large.
The VC’s speech was followed by the keynote address by the Chairman of the Foundation, Ameer Abdullahi Abubakar Lamido. He gave a detailed speech about the next level of their empowerment which the beneficiaries: which is joining the WADATA Women Cooperative Society. He explained what a Cooperative society is, what it means to be a member of a Cooperative Society and the different types of Cooperative Societies we have like the consumer, producer and Multipurpose Cooperative Societies. He also explained benefits of cooperative society which include building regular savings, access to capital, owning assets, cooperative education among others. He finished his speech with an enthusiastic wish that someday, many among the beneficiaries will pay for their hajj faires, and a son to one of the beneficiaries may park his car at the ZAWFOG office, pay his Zakah of 50 million naira, and make other donations to the less prvilaged as a thank you gift for empowering his mother who in turn empowered him through Education.
The Chairperson WAMCOS , Malama Hanne Abdullahi was the next on the podium where she welcomed the successful beneficiaries into WAMCOS. She emphasized on the need for coming to monthly meetings and making monthly savings regularly. She also introduced to them the idea for ‘special savings’ which is usually for long-term plans like the wedding of a daughter, registration fee of kids, hajj savings etc.
Highlights of the event were feedbacks from the beneficiaries about how the Empowerment Program benefitted them in ways beyond measure. One of the beneficiaries in person of Kulu Muhammad (Amira of the Beneficiaries) from Tudun Wada of Gombe mentioned what the Women Empowerment Program was like to her. She said: “Tamkar mutum ne yake tsaye a cikin duhu, sai wani ya zo da tochi yana haska masa hanya..” Meaning: ‘It is like a person on a standstill in total darkness, and then someone comes with a torch light and shows him the way out of the darkness. Another highlight of the event was the presentation of gifts to the beneficiaries who were the most outstanding in performance, in determination, in frequent attendance to meetings and in savings.
The beneficiaries were allowed to come and pick from items of their choice including food flasks, clothes, kids wear, Hijabs and shoes that were all donated by some officials and volunteers of the Foundation. No one among the attendants of the graduation went home empty-handed. There were smiles everywhere and prayers to the Foundation for more success and greater heights.
Nabeela Usman El-Nafaty
Short comment from one of the beneficiary