Steps We Can Take to Ensure the Livelihood of Widows and Their Families

mother with children

The plight of widows should be a worldwide concern. Widows continue to suffer dispossession, poverty, inadequate health care, limited economic opportunities and marginalisation, in such a way that threatens the future of their children and future generations. We can however, as individuals, or as a collective, take steps to ensure the livelihood of widows and their families. Let us explore some of the ways we could do this:

1. Building Centres

  • Building help centres for widows in Kenya help to provide an avenue for widows to go and find a safe home, and to settle-in to prevent homelessness. It could give them bed and shelter, as needed. Also, provide night shelter for anyone in need.
  • These building centres could also provide direct communication with other charity housing shelters and refer widows to agencies as needed.
  • At these centres they would get an education and receive skills training.
  • Centres could help them to find and apply for jobs.
  • It could help widows to look after their health and well-being.
  • Improve social skills by helping widows to meet new people and broaden their social network.
  • Help with finding and facilitating volunteer opportunities.
  • The building centres would provide link between needed widows and various services, such as all the service and support centres; the building centre could provide a direct link and be able to vet widows so that those that are more in need get assistance first.
  • Facilitate education programmes to provide free education to the widow to help them to grow as individuals and help them lead a better life.

2. Micro loans

Micro loan opportunities help businesses; even small amounts of credit can help to end the cycle of poverty:

  • Giving small loans to widows could provide the capital the widows need to start small businesses and raise their children and family out of poverty.
  • Micro loans may help to create new opportunities. This could have positive benefits on the local economy.
  • Banks will not extend loans to those with little or no assets, and generally they do not engage in the small size of loans typically associated with microfinancing.
  • It is usually difficult for widows to get loan since they usually have little or no assets to use as collaterals which banks usually do not grant loan without.
  • Widows who micro loans are less likely to keep their children out of school for economic reasons.
  • Micro finance loans help to empower women.

3. Generate livelihood

Income generating activities. Expand vocational and business training :

  • Buying and renting or selling small lots of land to be used for agriculture.
  • Provide widows with farming tools and supplies freely or at cheaper rates than they would otherwise purchase them for.
  • Adult literacy programmes to help widows.
  • Skills certification in areas such as hairdressing, computer skills, cooking etc.
  • Entrepreneurial training.

4. Fundraising

  • Fundraising opportunities to help widows such as charity balls, events, lotteries, concerts etc.
  • GoFundMe can be set up to raise money to finance various income and educational programmes.

5. Collection drive and Donation programme

  • Collection drives can be used to as a way of collecting equipment, clothing, educational materials and tools.
  • Collection drives can be set up at schools, businesses and other organisations.
  • Some organisations can be collection or drop off points for charities such as ours.
  • Encourage donation of unused clothes or those in good condition.

6. Environment Factors

  • Programmes to lead to, or facilitate better access to health care, better sanitation and clean drinking water.

The ways in which widows can be supported are many; if you are willing, you could make a profound change to their lives by contributing or participating in this movement.