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The Plight of a Kenyan widow

Kenyan widow, Christian Aid Ministries

“To be a Kenyan widow often means to be alone and without a voice,” says a CAM staff member. In Kenya, wives are frequently seen as no more than possessions, and many widows face rejection and hatred from family when their husbands die. They may be blamed for their husbands’ deaths. Sometimes relatives step in, taking away their homes, land, possessions, and anything else of value.

A widow may find her children claimed by others. Since her husband is dead, raising her children is no longer considered her right. Family and neighbors often try to avoid her, superstitious of hidden curses.

Philista is a 76-year-old widow in Kenya. Her husband passed away eleven years ago and all her children have also died, leaving her alone. She survives by the mercy of others. When CAM staff visited the cramped hallway where Philista lives, the only furniture to sit on was a small wooden stool.

CAM provides widows like Philista with monthly food parcels and $10 cash or the equivalent in other items. These parcels give them food and enable them to use their meager incomes for other much-needed items.

But even more important than food to eat is the love these parcels symbolize. “. . . a parcel of food is more than just a few bags of rice, flour, and beans,” a CAM staff member shares. “It is a reminder of the universal body of believers. For a moment, they know they are not forgotten.” Thank you, supporters, for seeing these widows’ plight and extending a caring hand.