Forced marriages, sexual abuse, and wife inheritance is all prevalent in the 8 million widows living in Kenya. When you consider that Kenya has some of the most oppressed widows in the world living in it, those 8 million lives suddenly seem to be more important. In a study done in 2016 the widows in Kenya were ranked 33rd in the world for most devastated lifestyle.
When her husband dies, the in-laws usually try and take the land from the widow he leaves behind. If the widow's land is taken from her by the in-laws, what choice does she have but to comply? If she protests them taking the land and takes the matter to court, what will happen if she wins? She will have a home but will then be completely ostracized by her clan. She may have four walls and a roof over her head, but living in a village where no one will speak to you would be a tragic life. It seems far safer to let them take the home and property.
In most cases, widows end up blamed for their husband's death and cast out of society with no belongings. With no property, no home, and no one to turn to for help, the widow is left alone.
This is why Rafiki's work with widows is so important. We come along side these women and help them support themselves in a way that was not possible before. It is our hope that you will come along side of us and help give lasting hope to future generations of widows in Kenya.
Written by McKenna Gasper