Nigerian women are most often affected by the fallout from the AIDS crisis. Widows and orphaned teenage girls work hard to care for their families with no money and no education. Dr. Anita Kemi DaSilva-Ibru has worked to help these women and girls by providing important services designed to do the most good in their lives. Dr. DaSilva-Ibru is a Doctor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at ideal Eagle Hospital in Lagos, working to provide quality health care to the women of Nigeria.
Not only does she work on women’s health issues, but she is a board member of ERAF, which provides job skills training for widows and older girls, feeds children, and runs an orphanage among many other programs. These programs provide hope and services to many women who are left with few choices in life. Together with her work at the hospital, Dr. DaSilva-Ibru is ensuring that she gives back to the community by providing for the health and welfare of women in Nigeria.
NGOs, or non- governmental organizations, play a large role in providing necessary services in many countries throughout the globe. Operating independently of governments, while not operating as traditional for-profit businesses, an NGO typically has advocacy or social aims, and the term originated in the United Nations. The Erelu Adebayo Foundation, registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission in 2001, is an NGO based in Nigeria that serves to meet the needs of many underprivileged citizens.
ERAF is overseen and operated by a five member board consisting of Chairman Erelu Angela Adebayo, Dr. Anita Kemi Dasilva-Ibru, Mrs. Ronke Okusanya, Dr. Olusola Bob Egbe, and Programme Officer Agatha A. Johnpaul. While the programs and services offered by the organization are quite varied, there are six strategic initiatives that they strive to achieve. These initiatives include assisting and rehabilitation widows and surviving family members, housing feeding, and clothing orphans and homeless children, and empowering widows and young girls in order to become more self sufficient and better able to care for their immediate family members. Other primary initiatives include arranging procedures for adopting orphaned children, creating a resource network for humanitarian operations, and organizing training and networking venues for young girls, widows, orphans, and vulnerable children.
In areas of the nation where unemployment rates are exceptionally high, offering these vulnerable women the skills that they need in order to gain and retain employment is critical. The role of ERAF is critical for these populations, and their projects are funded by philanthropic sponsorship as well as by donors. ERAF works to create projects that are well designed from beginning to end in order to provide lasting benefit, and the needs that these programs meet help to serve widows and women in ways that can drastically improve their quality of life.