While hurrays and felicitations are in order to celebrate a mother and a minder whose milk of human kindness has flowed and nourished the lives of many persons, on this occasion of the 51st birthday of ESLF’s Founder and immediate past First Lady of Benue State, Dr. Eunice Erdoo Ortom, we spotlight JUST 51 ways (out of hundreds of ways) this humanitarian champion, amazing Amazon and mother has touched the lives of many as follows:
1. Awarded scholarships to over 1000 vulnerable persons including Persons with Disability (PWDs) some of whom have graduated successfully and now lead more meaningful lives.
2. Sponsored 4 Benue youth including one female to China on train-the-trainer skills acquisition courses in 2018 and upon their return, stepped down the training they received to other young men and women giving them a new lease of life and livelihood.
3. Presented 2 million Naira (N 2,000,000) to Princess Adeja International College as 1st Prize Money for inventing a flood early warning system in the first-ever Science Exhibition in 2019 organised by ESLF during its 3rd Annual Literacy Project to deepen scientific research and fund further innovations to solve societal problems.
4. Gave 1.5 million Naira (N 1,500,000) 2nd Prize Money to NKST Secondary School Adikpo during the ESLF Science Exhibition for developing an automated traffic triangle to reduce road crashes caused by broken down vehicles at night.
5. Presented 1 Million Naira (1,000,000) 3RD Prize Money to Ameewua Model College, Adikpo during the ESLF Science Exhibition for producing a fruit plucker for properly plucking of fruits from trees and and preserving their premium quality.
6. Organised a Summer Holiday Sports Competition in 2016 for children.
7. Organised ESLF Football Tournament 2022 impacting the lives of over 2000 young footballers, coaches and referees across Benue State from which, at least, one female player has been drafted into Nigeria’s National Football Team.
8. Organised sports mentorship programme for young coaches, referees and footballers to inspire young ones to greatness.
9. Sponsored free eye screening, surgery and general treatment for over 100 persons across Benue State after which two beneficiaries, Terkinde Tyoshio of Aliade and Tarbee Boniface of Makurdi regained the sight they had lost to cataract for several years.
10. Over 100,000 people including IDPs in Benue are healthier courtesy of ESLF medical outreaches.
11. Increased the reading interest of over 20,000 children following ESLF’s annual literacy programmes that has had 7 successive editions.
12. Gave over 30 cancer patients increased access to treatment services via ESLF’s financial support.
13. Gave sundry interventions to save lives during a number of medical interventions, terminal ailments among others.
14. Presented 120 tricycle wheelchairs, detergents and cash to Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in July, 2021 in partnership with Beautiful Gate Handicapped People Centre, Jos.
15. Donated educational materials including text books, exercise books, white boards, plastic chairs and mats to IDP Emergency Education schools to improve learning for children in Internally Displaced Persons Camps in Daudu.
16. Supported 30 students in rural areas with bicycles to aid transportation to and from school.
17. Purchased UTME/JAMB forms for over 300 candidates in 2016/2017 giving the needed support to young school leavers to access university education.
18. Funded a 2017 survey on human trafficking in Benue State to get the bedrock of data needed by relevant organisations to fight the scourge.
19. Gave financial support ranging from Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N250,000.00) to Half a Million Naira (N500,000) to support the chemotherapy, surgery and other forms of cancer treatment to each of over 20 cancer patients in various hospitals including Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) Makurdi, Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Makurdi, and FMC Keffi in Nassarawa State.
20. Led advocacies and sensitisation actions against cancer and tuberculosis and ensured mental awareness programmes to spotlight the dangers of illicit drugs and substance abuse among other unhealthy behaviours.
21. Established Mental Rehabilitation Centre at the ESLF Integrated Health Facility (IHF) to offer mental health and psychosocial support (including drug and substance abuse rehabilitation, counselling and a range of Drug Demand Reduction Initiatives.
22. Established vocation skills acquisition centre at ESLF-IHF for the youth empowerment and engagement.
23. Established a Maternal and Child Specialist Hospital at ESLF-IHF for specialized health services for women and children.
24. Provided financial support for over 40 young men and women entrepreneurs in 2022.
25. Led advocacies leading to the appointment of 7 women as Caretaker Chairmen, later elected which at the time was the highest number ever seen in the State.
26. Led advocacy for women participation in leadership that saw to the appointment of at least 10 women-heads of agencies, boards and departments of government.
27. Empowered over 100,000 people through skills acquisition training, academic scholarships, literacy and talent development, medical outreaches, awareness campaigns and advocacy on cancer, HIV/Aids and substance abuse. She has made remarkable contributions to the socio-economic growth and development of women, youth, children and vulnerable persons and given them access to health, education and economic opportunities.
28. Championed the cause of increased women participation in leadership and decision-making, leading to a significant rise in the number of women representation in Benue State where 7 of 23 Local Government Council chairmanship positions were occupied by women representing 30% of the total available chairmanship seats.
29. Continued advocacy which increased the seat of Chairmanship to 8 following the Council Polls in 2020 marking the first time-ever the 35% Affirmative Action for women was achieved in the chairmanship position of local councils in the State.
30. Remained in the vanguard of support for women in leadership and decision making positions resulting in 9 women emerging as Chairmen after the 2022 Council polls, representing 39% of the total, an all-time high in the representation of women in local government council ever since the creation of Benue State over 40 years ago.
31. Recorded yet another milestone of 35% representation for female Vice Chairmen of Council when in June 2022, 8 women emerged out of the available 23 Vice Chairmanship seats in the State through her strategic engagement with political party leaders across the State.
32. In same vein, her advocacy saw to 68 women of the 276 council wards in the State (amounting to 25%) emerging as Councillors with 4 of the women elected Leaders of Legislative Councils out of the 23 legislative councils marking a significant rise in the tally of leadership for women at that level.
33. Her unequivocal voice for women saw 5 women being appointed Secretaries of Council representing 22% of the total number of Secretaries in the State at the time.
34. 32 women (46%) of a total of 69 persons emerged supervisors within same period translating to the highest level of women participation in leadership in the State.
35. Facilitated the process that led to a commitment by the Benue State Government to increase budgetary allocation to HIV/AIDs interventions in the State in line with her commitment to supporting the mobilization of domestic resources for HIV/AIDs interventions.
36. Spearheaded advocacy for increased State funding of education, economic development programmes as well as health matters other than HIV/AIDS previously mentioned.
37. Donated sports kits to children of King David School of Creative and Performing Arts (SOCAPA) during its summer sports programme.
38. Donated 5000 exercise books and 3000 pens to the Foundation for Justice, Development and Peace (FJDP) for onward distribution to children at the refugee camp to mark 2021 World Refugee Day.
39. Donated over 1000 packs of improved variety cassava stems (Tropica Manihot Escalenta) and maize seedlings to support the agricultural yields of farmers in communities hosting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Benue State.
40. Gave cash support to tennis contingent from the State to enable teenage players participate at the All Nigeria Tennis (Open) competition in Lagos State in 2021.
41. Donated drugs and medical consumables to the Ugondo Development Association (UDA), Makurdi Branch towards the association’s medical outreach at Ugba in Logo Local Government Area of Benue State in 2021.
42. Donated improved rice seedlings and other farm inputs to farmers in Makurdi.
43. Worked assiduously for the development and institution of policies and legislations that protect and promote the rights of women, girls and other vulnerable persons including domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act and the Administration of Criminal Justice (ACJ) Act in the State in collaboration with other Civil Society Organisations.
44. Responded to the cries of widows to propose and pushed for a Law to stop harmful widowhood practices in the State which was signed in May 2023.
45. Led advocacy for a bill for women inclusion in traditional leadership to enable society benefit from the rich inputs of women at the traditional level.
46. Inaugurated the Sexual and Gender Based Violence Advocacy and Policy Implementation Committee, a crack team mandated to provide a wide range of multi-sectoral responses to the menace of SGBV in the State.
47. Established the DOHAPITU Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) at BSUTH, a One-Stop-Shop (OSS) for the provision of services to SGBV survivors with support from Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum.
48. Donated cash and provisions for newborns to an Internally Displaced mother of twins in 2021 and other newly-delivered mothers in need of support.
49. On the occasion of ESLF’s recent seventh anniversary, she put smiles on the faces of nursing mothers in hospitals across Makurdi especially newly-delivered mothers whose delivery coincided with the May 14th date of ESLF’s anniversary.
50. Gave business support of Five Million Naira (N 5,000,000) to 25 young men and women from the Benue Youths in Prayer (BEYIP) group with each of them receiving a cheque of Two Hundred Thousand Naira (N200,000) as support for their existing businesses or start-up capital for new ones.
51. Empowered 10 other women, mainly widows, at the 92nd Convocation of the Benue Women in Prayer (BEWIP) and generally made remarkable contributions to the socio-economic growth and development of women, youth, children and many vulnerable persons and given them access to health, education and economic opportunities.
Today we celebrate this one heart that beats for vulnerable children, women and men as we chant 51 hearty hurrays to a humanitarian @ 51!
Happy birthday to ESLF’s Founder, H.E Dr. Eunice Erdoo Ortom!