Widows in Kakamega Speak Out: Overcoming Challenges and Seeking Empowerment

By Seliphar Machoni

In  Kakamega County, Malava Boys High School, widows come together to share their stories, struggles, and hopes for a better future. Among them is Mary Wanjala, a widow for five years, who bravely opens up about the challenges she has faced since losing her husband.

“Every day is a battle,” Mary begins, her voice carrying the weight of years of hardship. “After my husband passed away, I found myself thrust into a world of uncertainty. Suddenly, I was not just grieving the loss of my partner but also grappling with the harsh realities of widowhood.”

Mary echoes the sentiments expressed by Pastor Dorcas Rigathi and others about the need for socio-economic empowerment.

“We widows often find ourselves at the mercy of society. Many of us lack the resources and support systems to provide for ourselves and our families,” she explains.

One of the most pressing issues, Mary emphasizes, is the challenge of securing property and land rights.

“In our community, widow inheritance is still a prevalent practice. This not only strips us of our dignity but also deprives us of our rightful inheritance, leaving us vulnerable and marginalized,” she reveals.

Mary nods in agreement as Mrs. Rigathi calls for expedited legal processes to safeguard the rights of widows.

“The lengthy and cumbersome legal battles only add to our burden. We deserve swift justice and protection under the law,” she shares.

However, Mary acknowledges the importance of a mindset shift and self-reliance, echoing Mrs. Rigathi’s call to action.

“We must rise above self-pity and dependency. By harnessing our skills and embracing economic opportunities, we can chart a path towards financial independence and empowerment,” she asserts.

Mary and others agree that ‘Safari ya Mjane,’ initiated by Mrs. Rigathi, gives widows hope and reminds them that they are not alone in their journey.

As the forum continues, the speakers, including Kakamega Governor’s spouse, Prof. Janet Kasili Barasa, and Kakamega County Women Representative Elsie Muhanda, highlight the systemic issues facing widows in the county. They stress the importance of collective action and government support in addressing these challenges.

Despite the obstacles, Mary and her fellow widows remain resilient, united in their determination to create a brighter future for themselves and their families.

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