Over 40 fresh graduands of the Defence and Police Officers Wives Association Skills Acquisition Centre (DSAC) have been empowered with requisite vocational skills, finances and starter packs as they graduate from the vocational institution in a colourful ceremony on Monday at the DEPOWA Secretariat, Abuja.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Abayomi Olonisakin who graced the event as the Special Guest of Honour, reiterated the commitment of the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) in supporting DEPOWA towards actualizing its empowerment mandate of bringing succour to widows and dependants of fallen heroes. He lauded the organisation for contributing to the nation’s human capacity development initiative through its various vocational and empowerment programmes.
The CDS, acknowledged that the training of wards and dependants of personnel, as well as widows and orphans of falling heroes in diverse vocations remains one of the priorities of the Armed Forces, which he said is targeted at assuaging the challenges confronting the vulnerable.
Represented by the Chief of Defence Administration, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, the CDS said the Defence Headquarters will continue to actively support DEPOWA’s strive towards a systematic restoration of key manpower required for vocational training, especially in the police and military barracks.
In her remarks, former DEPOWA President, Hajia Aminat Modupe Ibrahim, commended the pragmatic leadership qualities of the current DEPOWA President, particularly, in touching the lives of the less privileged in the society. The wife of the former CDS, Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim, urged the graduands, to waste no time in establishing their own businesses with the Starter Packs and cash donations provided by DEPOWA to enable them support their families.
Earlier In a welcome address, the DEPOWA President, Mrs Omobolanle Olonisakin disclosed that since inception, the DEPOWA Skills Acquisition Centre has graduated over 228 students out of which 112 are widows, who she said are currently progressing in their various choices of trade.
While pointing out that it was the seventh batch of trainees being graduated by DSAC, under her administration, Mrs Olonisakin, noted that, of the 40 graduands, 16 are widows while 5 were youths. According to her, ‘‘DEPOWA would continue to prioritize the welfare and wellbeing of widows of our fallen heroes, their wards and the needy in our society.”
The vocational skills acquired by the graduands are Computer Studies, Catering and Hotel Management, Fashion Designing, Hair Dressing, Make-Up and Gele Tying. Others are Cosmetic and Detergent Production, as well as Beads and Craft.
Highlight of the event, was a brief presentation by the Deputy Director of SMEDAN, Mr Ibrahim Abdulmalik, who spoke on the modalities through which the graduands could access grants and loans from SMEDAN in order to grow their enterprises.