A total of 100 fistula survivours who graduated from skills acquisition training were on Thurday presented with start-up kits
The training was conducted by an NGO, Royal Heritage Health Foundation (RHHF) with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
In his opening remarks at the graduation ceremony in Maiduguri on Thursday, the Chief Executive Officer of RHFF, the implementing partner for the programme, Mr Olusoji Sogunro, said the beneficiaries were selected from Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Maiduguri.
Sogunro, who was represented by the Programme Manager of the Foundation, Oluwasefunmi Ajayi, said the graduates were trained in three skills of traditional cap making, henna making and local fragrance.
“We trained them in small scale businesses, book and record keeping, as well as cooperative savings and marketing.
“Today, they are equipped with one of the most important tool to forge ahead. It’s important for them now to put what they learnt with the start-up kit and capital to work for them. ”
In his speech, the Humanitarian Coordinator/Head of Maiduguri Office, Mr Macauley Sabum said no fewer than 675 fistula patients had been treated in Borno within the past four years.
Represented by the UNFPA Programme Officer in the state, Dr Midala Balami, the coordinator said UNFPA as an agency for reproductive health and a lead against Gender-Based Violence would continue to support vulnerable women and girls.
He noted that “in UNFPA, our mission is to ensure the wellbeing of women and girls, and to ensure that all deliveries are safe and all pregnancies are wanted.”
He lauded stakeholders for the roles they played in ensuring the attainment of the goals of the Fund, particularly the Borno Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development for mobilising the beneficiaries.
The wife of the Borno Governor, Dr Falmata Zulum, who was represented by the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Zuwaira Gambo, launded UNFPA and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) for sustained support to Borno.
Zulum said that the gesture was in line with the state’s policy, aimed at empowering and providing equal opportunities for women and girls.
She said “I am happy to witness the graduation ceremony of 100 vulnerable women and girls who had been trained in various vocational skill acquisition programmes.
“They are also being provided with start-up kits and capital to commence their businesses to make them resilient and financially independent in the society.
“This group of women and girls have been registered into cooperative societies to ensure sustainability,” Zulum added.
While commending the implementing partner, Royal Heritage Health Foundation (RHHF) for the quality training provided, Zulum urged beneficiaries to make maximum use of the opportunity to improve their lives.
The Chief Medical Director of Maiduguri Specialists Hospital, Dr Laraba Bello, congratulated the VVF survivors and urged them not to disappoint those that made it possible for them to start a new life.
“You are normal now and should feel free to mingle with other women in any gathering or event.
“Take what you learn serious and make us proud. Don’t hesitate to advise other women that face sexual violence or have fistula problem to come foward for attention,” Bello said.
Many of the beneficiaries who spoke, lauded the opportunity provided them and promised to make a difference.
Highlights of the occasion was the presentation of pictorial magazine of the project activity from 2019 to 2021 and presentation of certificates and the start-up kits to the beneficiaries.