The Extended Hands Foundation, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), has sponsored medical surgery for 50 women in Kebbi with Vesico-Vaginal Fistula (VVF).

The foundation, an initiative of Nollywood actress, Stephanie Okereke-Linus, also empowered the women by assisting them to acquire vocational skills.

At the graduation ceremony for the women on Friday in Birnin Kebbi, Dr Zainab Bagudu, wife of Kebbi Governor, said the timely intervention of the foundation was most welcome.

She said “this goes to show that the world still has people with good heart, humane, humble and kindhearted, whose antecedents invoke relief to thousands of families globally.

“It will go a long way in cushioning the sufferings of these families by way of injecting new lease of life into the beneficiaries. You will all agree with me that our society is in dire need of such philanthropists to give back to society.”

Bagudu called on governments, traditional and religious leaders to intensify enlightenment efforts to reduce early marriage and to encourage enrollment of children in schools.

“These are measures that will curb the menace of VVF and its attendant consequences,” she added.

The governor’s wife commended the initiator of the foundation, Okereke-Linus,saying that the gesture would remain indelible in the lives of the beneficiaries.

Hajiya Halima Dikko, the Permanent Secretary, Kebbi Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, said the women were trained in various vocations under the supervision of the ministry.

She added that “the aim of this activity is to promote sustainable economic empowerment and poverty alleviation.”

She advised the beneficiaries to embrace the programme for self reliance and economic empowerment.

Dikko also commended the foundation for sponsoring the surgery for the repair of the VVF in the women.

Responding, Okereke-Linus expressed happiness at the enthusiasm the state government and people of the state received her and her team.

She said “it was your enthusiasm that motivated me when I came in 2016 tocome back again. We are determined to eliminate fistula in the next six years.”