WILLS POINT, TX — Mission agency GFA World (www.gfa.org) has launched an appeal to help thousands of “ostracized widows” around the globe at risk of starvation and abuse after being abandoned by their family and neighbors.
“Millions of widows live in societies where they are blamed for their husband’s death, regardless of the illness, accident or circumstances,” said GFA World founder K.P. Yohannan (also known as Metropolitan Yohan). “They are considered a curse and are socially shunned, abused, neglected and often abandoned, along with their children.
“For those married at a young age, they may carry the stigma of ‘widow’ for decades, even their entire adult life.”
For many of the estimated 258 million widows worldwide, especially those in Africa and Asia, the only way to survive is to scavenge and beg, said Yohannan.
“Their homelessness and hunger make them easy targets for exploitation, slave labor and the sex trade,” he said.
Alarming examples of the extreme mistreatment widows often face include:
- Nigerian widows were locked in a room with their husbands’ corpses and forced to shave their own heads — a ritual of shame.
- In Afghanistan, outcast widows had to establish their own “colony” on a hillside above a cemetery, excluded from mainstream life.
- In Kenya, during the pandemic, there were reports of widows being driven out of their homes by in-laws who considered them to be an “excess burden.”
- In many countries, city streets are the only place left for widows who’ve been abandoned by their families.
In some countries in Africa and Asia, new widows may have barely buried or cremated their husbands before someone tries to take their home, land or possessions, citing loss of property rights after the husband dies.
“Though their families and society have turned their backs on these precious women, God loves them dearly,” Yohannan said. “As the Bible says, we must ‘… care for orphans and widows in their distress’.”
‘God Answers Widow’s Cry’
GFA World and its network of national missionaries provide medical care, literacy classes, vocational training for young widows, and income-generating farm animals, such as cows and goats.
Kacia lives in a remote village where the homes are made out of bamboo poles and the walls are covered with mud. When her husband died, Kacia cried out to God in desperation. Her prayers were answered when local Christians came to comfort her and pray with her.
Supported by GFA World, they were able to give Kacia a goat so she could raise a small herd, sell milk, and have a steady income. “I was very much pleased because that gave me hope and dignity that I can somehow carry my life forward,” she said. “I am really grateful in my heart.”
For more information about supporting widows like Kacia, go to http://www.gfa.org.
About GFA World
GFA World is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Africa and Asia, and sharing the love of God. In a typical year, this includes thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 880 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 163,000 needy families, and teaching to provide hope and encouragement in 110 languages in 14 nations through broadcast ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit the Press Room at https://gfanews.org/news.
Learn more about the GFA World’s Widows Ministry. For over more than 40 million widows in South Asia, life is a desperate struggle for survival. Blamed for their husbands’ deaths, many are forsaken by their families, shunned by their friends and despised by their communities. You can help lift widows out of destitution and restore their dignity.
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Source: GFA World Digital Media Room, GFA World Launches Appeal As ‘Ostracized Widows’ Face Life of Begging