The HIV epidemic in Nigeria has hit certain segments of the society particularly hard, and left many widows and children unprepared for the sudden need to fend for themselves. The Erelu Adebayo Foundation, known as ERAF for short, is a non-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to helping those in need. They provide hope and help to women, girls, and children in areas with high unemployment and HIV rates in the hopes of making a difference in these people’s lives. Founded by the wife of the former governor of Ekiti State, ERAF continues to expand their operations and programs with the help of funds donated from individuals and the five member board.
Among the many programs meant to assist and give crucial job skills to women and their families, is a micro-loan program designed to help these women start their own businesses. The loan program is designed to operate in a cooperative setting between the women to both enable them to obtain the capital need to start their businesses and provide an effective means of accountability and increase the chances of the loans being repaid. When women are empowered to generate their own incomes they become self-reliant and are able to provide for their families on a long term basis. Widows and older teenagers are also given job training that is meant to assist them in gaining the needed skills to generate that income.
ERAF is run by a board of 5 prominent women in Lagos who have compassion and a dedication to improving the lives of those less fortunate than themselves. The board members are: Erelu Angela Adebayo, Chairman and Founder of ERAF; Dr. Anita Kemi DaSilva-Ibru, a medical doctor at Ideal Eagle Hospital; Mrs. Ronke Okusanya, an executive Chairman of the Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State; Dr. Olusola Bob-Egbe, Medical Director of Faratori Eye Center; and Agatha A. Johnpaul, Programme Officer for ERAF.