… Empowers Girl Child with Skillful Equipment
By Daruwana Daku
It was a beehive of activities last Sunday, October 30 at the Bishop A. K. Obiefuna Retreat and Pastoral Centre Okpuno, Awka, as the Mary League Girls’ Association, MLGA, Awka Diocese, held its annual celebration of “A Day with the Bishop”.
The event which began with a Holy Mass presided by the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, had in attendance members of the MLGA from different deaneries.
The bishop who expressed joy in having in his midst, members of the association, spoke on the existence of MLGA in the Diocese and the need to reignite their faith, hope and charity, which he termed as ‘the theological virtues’. He also added that in spite of the significance of these virtues; love remained the ultimate of them all.
‘If I have not love, yet having the gift of prophecy and can fathom all knowledge, and have faith that can move a mountain, I have nothing,’ the bishop emphasized.
The prelate who also stressed during his homily how the association was a pious one, emphasized on the need for girls, irrespective of their membership in the Holy Childhood and Catholic Youth Organizations, CYON, to be members of Mary League Association. This was even as he explained the distinct nature of the Association from the Holy Childhood and CYON.
This year’s event took a different turn as the association saw the need to empower the girl child across the 13 deaneries of the Association.
In doing this, the selected beneficiaries were empowered with sewing machines, gas cylinders, and ovens, as well as hair-dressing equipment.
The beneficiaries who were visibly emotional about the kind gesture received from the Association, were also charged to reciprocate the kind gesture given to them in training other people in their parishes and deaneries.
Guests at the event supported the novel idea of MLGA, noting that it was a step in the right direction considering the level of unemployment faced by youths today in the country.
Among the guests who lent their voices and support to the MLGA, were the mother of the Day and Patroness of MLGA, Lady Ngozi Ekwunife; and the Director of Catholic Women’s Organization, Awka Diocese, Lady Sabina Ndigwe. They applauded the girls for what they described as their ingenuity and vision in taking a cue from the bishop of the Diocese who had started on his 70th Birthday to empower the youth of the Diocese. The duo also added that the empowerment would make the young people feel catered for in the Church.
The Chairman of the Occasion, Chief Chuka Ndife, called for continuous training of the girl child, role modeling and keeping track of their activities so as to continue leaving within the pace of growth.
Speaking with Fides, the Chaplain of the Mary League Association, Rev. Fr Pashal Udo, noted that the reason of empowering the girl child was consequent upon what society had become without jobs and skills. The chaplain also noted that the training would aid other members in continuous training.
For her part, the MLGA Awka Diocesan President, Comr. Chidimma Maria Ejidike, noted that the empowerment was part of the vision of the Association, even as she hoped the Association would empower more active members in the future.
The event also witnessed side attractions like march past where the entire deaneries participated, with Neni emerging first position; and an Empowerment Lecture presented by Rev. Fr Constantine Okoli.
In his lecture, Fr Okoli spoke on the implications of empowerment; where he contextualized empowerment through education, cyber space, modesty and decency. The priest also extrapolated on the challenges of MLGA on marriage, self-reliance and skill acquisition.
Fides gathered that the grand patron of MLGA, Senator Victor Umeh, also added his support in cash and scholarships, pledging to support 25 MLGA members with scholarships in any Nigerian university.
Highlights of the event were march past, launching of Mary League’s directory cum diary, cutting of cake, empowerment lecture, among others.