Widows Rights International

Widows Rights International

Charity information

Widows Rights International

Women in sub-saharan Africa, as in South Asia, who have been good wives, and mothers, who have supported their families by producing crops and small livestock for everyone in the family to eat suddenly find their world turned upside down, their means of livelihood and their household goods taken from them by their in-laws, and sometimes their children too.

Why? Because they have the misfortune to lose their husband. Not only do they have to undergo humiliating and health endangering cleansing rituals immediately after their husband’s death, but worse still, they are treated as social pariahs, accused openly or surreptitiously of having taken their spouse’s life, and unless they accept forced marriage with one of their husband’s close kin they can be thrown out of their home and the community.

What is WRI doing about this gross breach of a widow’s human rights? We gather information from widows, local community groups, lawyers and others who help widows about the innovative steps they are taking to end such abuse. The strategies they use to lobby for legislation forbidding these abuses or to get legislation already in place to be implemented. Through our information exchange widows groups learn about these successful strategies; we put them in touch with each other; we support their efforts to change public acceptance of these harmful traditional practices, by providing them with the good arguments, facts and figures that can be used to recruit local politicians and people of influence to work with them to this end.