Kenya marks International Widows Day for the first time

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International Widows Day
Mrs. Zeinab Hussein, the Principal Secretary department of Gender, Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs chats with Muungano Wa Wajane Secretary General Ms. Diana Kamande and the Chairperson Mrs. Bertha Gaitho during Widows workshop at KICC [Photo: Jared Nyabuti/KNA]

The world marks the International Widows Day today on 23 June 2016. This is the first time the day is being celebrated in Kenya.

International Widows Day is a United Nations ratified day of action to address the “Poverty and Injustice faced by the millions of widows and their dependants in many countries” the day takes place annually on 23 June.

As per the current statics Kenya has an average of 1,424,689 widows.

The highest number of widows are young, poverty stricken, frustrated and rejected by their families with their left dependants their livelihood is financially constrained living under the poverty line.

International Widows Day
Muungano wa Wajane workshop

Speaking at a workshop organised by Kenyan widows dubbed ‘Muungano Wa Wajane’ the chairperson Mrs. Bertha Gaitho asked the government to specifically set aside funds from the Uwezo Fund for the widows as many of them are financially challenged.

Widows represented from all counties in the country conveyed at the International Widows Day celebration workshop held at KICC as they one by one narrated of how life has been hard where by most of them complained of being discriminated by there families.

Most of them said they suffer from stigmatization by their families and the society at large.

The Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs through its Principal Secretary Zeinab W. Hussein thanked the ‘Muungano Wa Wajane’ for creating awareness of the plight of widows.

International Widows Day
International widows day

On the other hand she said she will fight for the bill of the widows in the parliament for them to be recognized and at least be able to access their rights as widows.

Hussein condemned the issues of widows being subjected to torture through cultural activities that they are forced to undergo in different communities after their husbands’ death.

She added that through the cultural process widows go through physical, emotional, violence and also spiritual which is not human and thus should be done away with.