The Lagos State Government says it is training 98 women living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) on various trade skills.
Mr Peter Obialor, Coordinator of people living with HIV/AIDS, Community Department in Alimosho General Hospital, Igando Lagos, confirmed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday.
Obialor said the empowerment is being conducted by the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) with the aim of reducing poverty in the state.
“This training is organised for people living with HIV to empower them and make them feel among and not to be rejected and discriminated upon.
“This training at least will help them build their self esteem instead of losing it; and they can equally be free to showcase themselves as people who can do a particular thing.
“The people are being trained on how to make tie and dye, bead making, makeup, gele tying, cosmetology, hairdressing, event management and catering services.
“ We give them starter packs which comprises of what their chosen venture required,’’ Obialor said.
According to him, the participants are from various general hospitals in the state.
He assured people living with the virus to believe that they had a future and urged them not to think that having “HIV is a death sentence”.
He said: “HIV is not a sickness, it does not kill; malaria kills faster than HIV.
“But HIV can live in the body for about three years without one knowing; it is the panic that kills.’’
He commended the state government for its initiative on this disease, noting that “this is the second time the people of Alimosho local government is benefiting from the state government goodwill”.
Miss Happiness Chidinma, one of the trainees on Cosmetology, told NAN that she was blessed to be part of the beneficiaries.
“I feel great and blessed about the training I am currently receiving, I will use the skill to establish a big firm to enable me cater for my children,’’ she said.
Miss Owolabi Olabisi, an apprentice on Makeup and Gele, expressed joy that she finally learnt the skill she had always had passion for.
“I am very happy about the scheme because makeup and Gele tying have always been what I have been trying to learn on my own.
Mrs Amarachi Okafor, a trainee on Catering, also thanked the state government for empowering people living with HIV and “I am determined to set up my business after graduation”.
Similarly, Mrs Rosemary Chukwuma, the event and decoration instructor, urged the women to be creative to enhance their economic development.
NAN reports that the training will last for one month. (NAN)