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Free Medicare for Lagos single parents

  • New NGO, Paul, also targets 50 for ‘economic empowerment’

Some of the women being screened at the event

More than 300 Single Parents on June 2, received free medical attention during the candid unveiling of a non-governmental organization called Poverty Aid Uplifting Lives (PAUL).

In an event tagged: Journey of Single Parents across the Nation held at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR, Lagos State, the single women from different parts of Lagos were screened and treated for different ailments such as malaria, hypertension, among several others.

Apart from free medical care, 50 Single Parents were chosen to be empowered economically. First 100 people qualified for a raffle draw which attracted different prizes. Another 20 people went home with 50kg bag rice respectively while each participant went home with souvenirs and free foodstuffs.

Addressing journalists on the focus on single parents, the national coordinator of PAUL, Unoma Ebun said while several NGOs have done one thing or the other on women and children,  none has ever targeted single parents.

“I am a single mother, so I really know how it is. Though I had a fantastic support system; my family, the baby’s daddy, friends were all by my side,  I didn’t find it easy. So when the international body said they want to start a foundation and they want me to be part of it, I then suggested we target Single Parents especially single mothers,” she explained.

According to Ebun, PAUL foundation is committed to implementing social and economic empowerment to see a society where the disadvantaged persons have equal opportunity to fulfil their economic potential.

“Basically, it is just 50 parents we are targeting to make them financially empowered. They will go through an interview to see that they are mentally, emotionally and physically ready to embark on such a project. We will be the voice for graduates among them as well as standing as their referee.

Also speaking to journalists, Paul Nesbitt, the President of the foundation said the focus is to alleviate poverty from the faces of people especially single mothers and unemployed.

“I noticed that there are a lot of pains in the faces of people. In Ireland where I come from, if you get pregnant, my government will look after you, they will give you money every week to support yourself and your child.

“On weekly basis, the average single parents collect a certain amount of money to look after herself and her child but that doesn’t happen in Nigeria. Again if the woman doesn’t have a place to live, the government will set her up with an apartment. We look after unmarried mothers and people that are unemployed but that doesn’t happen in Nigeria so that’s why I found the NGO in Nigeria.

One of the trustee members, Femi Adetunji, a lawyer, JUSTICEQUEST Partners, also said the programme is basically about creating a balance; a level playing field for all the people who are bereaved who lost their husbands, people whose wives absconded, or people who got pregnant at young age and had to go through the burden of parenting their children alone.

“This is all about single parenting; balancing the odds, ensuring that we give them a level playing field, an opportunity for their children to succeed in life and for them to succeed also. As a lawyer, we provide the legal backings to ensure that they work within the confines of law,” Adetunji said.

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