In commemoration of this year Armed Forces Remembrance Day which came up on Saturday,January 15, 2022, a not-for-profit organization SASCARE Foundation hosted some widows and children who lost their husbands and fathers in active service to a lunch event .
The foundation stated that the program was organized to provide psycho-social support and to honour the memory of the fallen heroes.
The event which was held in Ado-Ekiti, had in attendance about 50 beneficiaries who had lunch with the promoters of the organization and other dignitaries in attendance.
The women and children whose late husbands served in various military and paramilitary institutions also received cash grants, commemorative plaques, and other gifts to help ameliorate the impact of the loss of their loved ones and breadwinners.
According to the Co-Founder/Executive Director of SASCARE Foundation, Mojisola Rotimi, the initiative is an expression of one of the focus areas of the foundation, which is Mental Health and Wellness for vulnerable segments of society and is aimed at building a supportive community of Army Widows who can provide ongoing psycho-social support to one another and have an organized structure to attract help and to advocate for their welfare. She further explained that the foundation was established to sustain the legacy of her late father, Chief (Hon.) Akintunde Rotimi, who was a compassionate and dedicated humanitarian and public servant.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Omolola Anne Olawunmi, lamented the ongoing trauma she has been going through due to the loss of her late husband, FS Olawunmi Olasunkanmi Ojo, who was one of the seven gallant officers who died in the Airforce Beechcraft crash on February 21, 2021. She thanked the organization for reaching out to help her and other Army Widows.
Another beneficiary, Dr. Olubola Agboola, thanked SASCARE Foundation for taking the initiative to connect her with other Army Widows, and initiate the building of a community for them. Her late husband Cpl Agboola Awolola went missing while in active service when his troupe was ambushed by insurgents in Gubio, Borno State on October 29, 2018. She explained that she went through a very traumatic period of grieving before the Army authorities informed her that her husband is presumed dead after a year, as prescribed by their policies and to bring some closure – “his body was never found” She remarked that if a community of Army Widows now being built by the foundation existed, she would have been able to draw encouragement from others who had experienced similar trauma to deal with the grief.
The guest speaker at the event Mrs. Olamitoyosi Omope, an accomplished retired civil servant, minister, and founder of Touching Lives Foundation, gave an inspirational keynote address encouraging the widows and children “not to despair” about their bereavement, but be encouraged to rebuild their lives by believing in themselves, supporting one another, and getting close to God. She also gave the beneficiaries gifts. One of the highpoints of the event was the unanimous adoption of Mrs. Omotoyosi Omope as the matron of the community of Army Widows that was inaugurated at the event.
Other speakers at the event included consummate humanitarian and public relations expert, Alhaji Dauda Lawal, Barrister Rita Ilevbare, and Barrister Shirley Atane, who promised to support the community in various ways including legal aid for any of the widows going through one legal challenge or the other.
Yet another beneficiary of the initiative, Mrs. Alice Tundun Ogundipe, thanked the Founder of SASCARE Foundation, Mr. Akin Rotimi for supporting her and facilitating help for her and her children from benefactors such as H.E. Erelu Bisi Fayemi, First Lady, Ekiti State; Mr. Biodun Oyebanji; Dr. Dolapo Fasawe; Pastor Tunji Aribasoye; and others for the past 2 years, even before the formal establishment of the organization. Her late husband was Andrew Tunde Ogundipe who was a veteran of peace keeping missions in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and an active army sportsman who died on October 15, 2015.
The Founder of SASCARE Foundation, Mr. Akin Rotimi who is a Public Relations and International Development professional thanked supporters of the initiative especially Mr. Makinde Araoye for “the generous donations that made the inaugural annual event possible” and advocated for” well-meaning individuals and civic organizations to do more to support government in efforts to ensure the welfare of our troops and that of the families of fallen heroes”.