This project will set up ten shops or small businesses for ten widows with HIV/AIDS in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. Each woman has dependent children, some of whom are HIV positive themselves. The beneficiaries will own and operate the shops, enabling financial independence for themselves and their children. Training and oversight, both at the onset and at two-month intervals will be provided to each woman, ensuring continued productivity and sustainability of the businesses.
HIV/AIDS is often stigmatised in Nigeria and, although in most cases their husbands have died of AIDS, the women are frequently rejected by their husband's relatives leading to destitution. If relatives take them in, they still often suffer emotional depression as they are completely dependent on others for survival. Their children's education and health often suffers as the mother can't afford school fees or nutritional food.
The businesses will provide independence and empowerment for the women and their children. The project will rent the shop premises for the first year, buy initial stock or equipment to set up the business and provide initial training in operating a business, and further training and oversight by social workers every two months. The women are required to make regular savings deposits into the project's bank for the next year's rent, teaching them how to budget and save.
The business not only provides financial independence for the women, but is also an asset to leave for their children who oftentimes take over the shop if old enough, or operate it with a relative. Pride in their independence promotes well-being, keeping the women healthier for longer. The shop's income will pay school fees, rent housing, and buy nutritional food. The women's lives and their children's futures will be changed indefinitely.