The plight of widows around the world reveals that there are an estimated 245 million widows worldwide, 115 million of who live in poverty, suffer from social stigmatization and economic deprivation purely because they have lost their husbands; according to the research presented to UN Secretary-Gene ral Ban Ki-moon on June 22nd, 2010.
In Nigeria, today, the phenomenon of widowhood is yet to be understood, across different cultures in Nigeria, there exist harmful traditional widowhood practices which have attracted the attention of the global struggle in general on violence against women. Sufficient evidence suggests that widowed women are severely affected financially, psychologically, sexually and socially and these are rooted in cultural and traditional practices as well as the socialization processes that condition women to dependence. These conditions have erected enormous difficulties for women to creatively initiate new robust relationships with both men and women in social and economic spheres upon widowhood. The debilitating conditions of women are worsened by societal factors that instrumentally feed into the situation ranging from loss of livelihood and the fact that widows are less likely to remarry than widowers. Widows rather than sympathized with are more often subjected to near inhuman treatment in traditional ritual rites and practices such as solitary confinement, defacement, disinheritance and a relatively long mourning period of limited socio-economic activities. The most obvious effects are deepening poverty, acute stress, depression, loss of identity and self-esteem. The widowhood conditions expose women to psychological and physical abuse as well as a whole range of health-related problems with these ranges of woes and some more befalling widows, spurred the attention of PIA Obaseki Foundation to come protect and advocate for human rights cum discovering and nurturing hidden entrepreneurial skills and providing a voice as a platform for action upon the concerns of widows and women in general within our sphere of contact, assistance and care generally.
PIA Obaseki and Evang. Favour Obaseki whom are the Founders/ Directors of PIA Obaseki Foundation said that the foundation’s roles in ensuring an assured life for the widows are in no small measure and that they very well include – educating widows on their basic human rights, cooperating with existing NGOs to educate men on the need to write their wills early in life and make their wives their next of kin in all insurance, employment and banking document in order to ease the accessibility of funds for use of their family in instances of their deaths and sourcing for funds through sponsorships and donations for the training of 100 widows annually. PIA Obaseki Foundation also empowers trained widows to establish their own businesses, monitor their progress and also go all the way to celebrate widows who have excelled in their chosen fields.
PIA Obaseki Foundation is aimed at creating public awareness, sensitizing the society through speakers from the legal and medical professions about the plight of Nigerian widows and proffering solutions in form of communiqué to the government to legislate on it and reform existing laws that protect the fundamental human rights of widows.