CharityNews

Global Fund for Widows’ love rekindles hope to despaired women in northern Tanzania

GFW has provided 825 widows with Sh330 million grants, entrepreneurial skills and tools to start their own businesses.

SUNDAY March 10, 2024

The Global Fund for Widows Country Director, Ms Mesha Singolyo (Black cloth on the head), hands over grants to Sarabanks Women Group at Meserani area in Monduli District, Arusha Region, recently. PHOTO | COURTESY

By Adam Ihucha

Tranquility News Correspondent, Tanzania

In a remarkable display of widow’s empowerment and entrepreneurship, the Global Fund for Widows (GFW) has paved way for a transformative change in northern Tanzania.

With a commitment to fostering economic independence and self-sufficiency, GFW has extended Sh330 million in grants to 825 widows, equipping them with tools and resources they need for establishing their own businesses.

Offering the latest batch comprising 175 widows in Karatu and Monduli districts, Arusha Region, the GFW Country Director, Ms Mesha Singolyo, said the funds were meant for restoring hope for the despaired women.

Ms Singolyo said the initiative went beyond financial support, as GFW had also dedicated efforts to imparting essential entrepreneurial skills to these widows.

Through comprehensive training programmes, the widows have been empowered with knowledge and expertise necessary to navigate the business landscape and actualise their entrepreneurial ambitions.

Members of a widows group celebrate grants the Global Fund for Widows Country Director, Ms Mesha Singolyo, handed over to them. PHOTO | COURTESY

As a result of this support, a wave of entrepreneurial spirit has swept through northern Tanzania, ushering in a new era of economic vitality and opportunity.

These widows, once facing formidable challenges, have now been equipped pursuant to their aspirations to contribute to their communities and support their families.

“The impact of GFW intervention extends far beyond the allocation of grants; it represents a profound investment in resilience and self-reliance of widows in northern Tanzania,” Ms Singolyo noted.

By harnessing the power of entrepreneurship, GFW has not only offered a lifeline to these widows but also sowed seeds for sustainable economic growth and empowerment within the region.

Through the uplifting and transformative story of these widows turned entrepreneurs, the GFW has exemplified the potent combination of financial assistance and entrepreneurial skills in bringing about enduring change and prosperity.

Ms Heather Ibrahim-Leathers founded Global Fund for Widows following the passing of her grandmother in 2009. Since then, the Global Fund for Widows has raised over $1,000,000 for economic empowerment programmes in Egypt, India, Tanzania, Nigeria, Bolivia, and the Dominican Republic. PHOTO | GFW

Ms Rahel Lekshon, a mother of five and one of the beneficiaries of the drive, said GFW had not only restored hope for the critical mass of widows, but also became the rural economic catalyst.

“The grants are stimulating the rural economy, as they enhance monetary circulation to the marginalised people,” she noted.

Ms Rahel said the grants had enabled her to establish a retail shop, build a house for rent, and pay for school supplies, among others.

“I’m so grateful to the founder of the Global Fund for Widows (Ms Heather Ibrahim-Leathers), may God bless her abundantly. Her gifted hands and heart touch the most marginalised group in Africa,” Ms Rahel said.

She said the GFW fresh bid had played a critical role in liberating the marginalised widows from harmful shackles of their traditional norms.

The grants are stimulating the rural economy, as they enhance monetary circulation to the marginalised people,” Ms Rahel Lekshon, one of the beneficiaries of the grants.

Ms Rahel was of the view that GFW was actually addressing historical injustice compounded by oppression and exploitation of widows, particularly in developing countries.

In the developing world, widows suffer three main violations of their rights, namely disinheritance, discrimination and harmful practices.

Indeed, through the grants, she explained, widows had successfully managed to buy raw materials for making beads and selling them to foreign tourists.

Hundreds of Widows were now benefiting from tourists’ dollars by hawking beads and carvings along roads heading for important tourist sites.

The Monduli District Community Development Officer, Ms Rose Mhina, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the Global Fund for Widows for their unwavering support to widows in her area of jurisdiction.

The Monduli District Community Development Officer, Ms Rose Mhina, addresses women during the launch of a Women’s Economic Empowerment platform in a past event. PHOTO | FERDINAND SHAYO

She emphasized that the grants provided by the organisation would not only greatly assist the needy widows but also complement the government’s relentless efforts in combating poverty.

Ms Mhina underscored the significance of such collaboration in addressing pressing issues widows faced, highlighting the positive impact it would have on the community at large.

Officiating at the International Women’s Day, Ms Flora Zelothe, the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi Women Wing Chairperson for Arusha Region, passionately acknowledged crucial impact of the Global Fund for Widows’ grant on the lives of widowed within the region.

“GFW has significantly improved their social status and economic empowerment by addressing needs of the widows,” Ms Zelothe said.

Through this support, she explained, vital progress had been made in reducing incidences of gender-based violence, thereby enhancing overall well-being of children within widowed households.

GFW has significantly improved their social status and economic empowerment by addressing needs of the widows,” Ms Flora Zelothe, the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi Women Wing Chairperson for Arusha Region.

Furthermore, the Global Fund Widows’ efforts had contributed to tangible improvements in the health and educational opportunities of these children.

Ms Zelothe’s recognition of the Global Fund for Widows’ impact and her praise of the dedication and accomplishments of Ms Singolyo, the GFW Country Director, underscore the profound significance of this initiative in uplifting widows and strengthening families within the Arusha Region.

With its footprint in Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Egypt and Cameroon, to mention but a few, the Global Fund for Widows is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to empowering widows and female heads of households to overcome poverty through achieving financial stability, self-sufficiency and accountability across the developing world.

Ms Heather Ibrahim-Leathers, who is an active advocate for the rights of widows and child widows, founded the GFW.

Ms Ibrahim-Leather regularly delivers presentations at the UN system, including at the Human Rights Council in Geneva and at the Commission on the Status of WomenΩ

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