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New NGO to assist widows

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A local NGO, Widows Hope Africa, has been formed with an aim of harnessing potentials of widows, orphans and vulnerable segments to become productive entities in the society through advocacy, capacity building, economic empowerment and human rights programme.

According to Executive Director of the organisation, Eliza Banda, Women’s Hope Africa exists to assist in income generating activities for widows, educational support and health programmes for vulnerable orphans and provide secondary school educational opportunities for youth.

In an interview with The Daily Times on Sunday, Banda said currently the organisation is working with at least 30 widows from Chinsapo in Lilongwe, adding that funds permitting, the organisation intends to reach out to other districts.

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“We observed that women face numerous challenges after losing their husbands. It is not easy for a woman to take over all the responsibilities of the husband and start fending for their families like sending children to schools and even providing food. In most cases, these women end up on the streets with their children begging because life becomes unbearable.

“We have already started assisting these widows by providing foodstuffs and encouraging them to be in groups so they can start some small businesses to sustain themselves,” she said.

Banda further said the majority of the widows the organisation looks after are unemployed, unskilled and live below poverty levels and some women have reduced themselves to offer sex to men in exchange for money.

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Said Banda: “I believe that what is needed is the uplifting of the widows in consultation with the widows themselves, of programmers and projects that see them not as the victims, requiring emergency relief but as women with the potential, if given appropriate support, education and training in business. If the widows are brought together and share experiences through testimonies and their hopes this can make them strong and not to look down on themselves.”

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