By Cecilia Ologunagba
New Jersey, Oct. 25, 2021
Miss Africa Tri State (MATS), a pageant organisation based in the U.S., says it will build shelters across all the states in Nigeria to cater for victims of domestic violence.
Ms. Olamide Talabi, the President of the organisation, who disclosed this at the 11th edition of MATS pageant in New Jersey, said a domestic violence shelter had already been built in Oyo State.
Talabi said MATS had given birth to Women in Shelter and Environment (WISE) project to support women experiencing domestic violence in Nigeria and across Africa.
“In 2020, we built the first domestic violence shelter in Nigeria in Oyo State Ibadan. The plan is to go round Nigeria and also extend it to other African countries,” she said.
She called for support to achieve the dream of building shelters for victims of domestic violence, noting that so many victims will not be able to afford accommodation.
According to her, some victims of domestic violence have been killed in the process of living in the house in which they have been abused.
Talabi, who is founder of MATS, said the organisation had empowered no fewer than 300 young girls in Africa to deliver humanitarian services to their communities.
The Nigerian born lady said the pageant was aimed at helping young women to realise their dreams of supporting humanity.
“We have empowered so many ladies; over 300 young girls have been empowered by MATS. It is a thing of joy seeing people being transformed by the pageant; when they (ladies) came, they were so shy and timid.
“We do the pageant every year. We have gone to so many African countries and whoever wins, her country will benefit too.
“We will go to their communities and support them and because of this, some of them have become super-stars in their countries,’’ she said.
According to her, the objective of the pageant is to empower and encourage young ladies on the African continent.
Talabi, also the African Commissioner in the Office of the Mayor of Newark, emphasised that the objective of the pageant was to empower ladies on importance of using their power, voice and newly acquired status as queens to advocate and support good causes all over Africa, the U.S. and the entire world.
“We believe in the power of giving back to the community and uplifting others as we rise through humanitarian efforts,’’ she said.
In his remarks, the Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Ambassador Lot Egopija, commended Talabi for her efforts aimed at supporting young women to actualise their dreams.
Egopija encouraged the founder to do more since she had succeeded in supporting women in the past 11 years.
“You have succeeded this far, don’t look back in doing your best as you empower the African girl child.
“We were told that if you educate a man, you just educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you have educated the society.
“We will always support our nationals to promote the best in the society. We look forward to an expansion of the programme next year,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the pageant featured presentation of awards to three distinguished Africans who had contributed to humanity.
A Nigerian born entrepreneur, Sonya Ogunfowora, received Community Service Award; Yalikha Soumah received an Emerging Leadership Award, while Dosso Kassimou received Humanitarian of the Year Award.
NAN reports that the winner of the 11 annual Miss Africa Tri State pageant is a contestant from Ghana, the first runner-up comes from Benin Republic, while the second runner-up is from Burkina Faso.