When Gozie Udemezue was eight, she was taken by a family relative to care for a widow in Southeastern Nigera, three days a week, near where she lived. The relative, Mama Anti, was caretaker to Gozie and her siblings after their own mother died. Though the widow was surrounded by family, she was still left childless, neglected and blind after her husband died. This didn’t make sense to Gozie, who brought her food, cleaned and cared for her.
Time spent with this widow, along with Gozie’s natural desire to help people, led to her eventual formation of The Healing Hearts Widows Support Foundation. The foundation, formed in 2008, helps widows who, when their husbands die, are often left penniless, without dignity or basic human rights.
Through her work, Gozie has organized 26 outreaches in different communities in the South Eastern Region of Nigeria. They are also registered with an office in Chicago. They have impacted over 5000 widows and assisting some of their children to pursue formal education. Through her Smiling Through initiative, she was able to get widows free medical check-ups, medications and a referral for treatment where needed, and 24/7 emotional support.
In 2013 Gozie became a widow herself, after her husband died leaving her pregnant with two children. It was then she began to truly understand the treacherous journey of widowhood.
In addition to her tireless dedication to the Healing Hearts Widows Support Foundation, Gozie also runs a soup kitchen, Mamma Soup, she is a working attorney, achieving her law degree in Human Rights Law from Queen Mary College of the University of London. She is a model, mother of three, public speaker and writer!
Her book, “Miracle on The Hudson,” is about her own compelling journey through widowhood. You can buy the Kindle edition here. She is currently working on her second book.
She sat with us at her hotel in Southfield, Michigan in June before her scheduled talk at the Fallen Heroes Luncheon at the Detroit Rescue Mission. Here she shares with us some of her story, the current state of Nigerian laws and some loving advise for widows.