Saturday, June 26, 2010
This past week Cherie Blair, wife of former British prime minister Tony Blair, announced the International Widows' Day on June 23. Blair presented a report by the Loomba Foundation entitled "Invisible, Forgotten Sufferers: The Plight of Widows Around the World." From the article I learned that there are 245 million widows around the world, many of whom live in abject poverty. Iraqi and Afghan widows whose husbands were killed during the wars are often forced from their homes and left to live as best they can along with their children. The report cited elderly widows still caring for children and child widows, some as young as 7, who suffer unbelievable poverty and abuse. In many third world countries widows are unable to claim any assets left by their husbands; some are accused of murder or even witchcraft; others are forced to marry someone in their husband's family; many are raped. "Over 500 million dependent and adult children of widows are caught in a vicious underworld in which disease, forced servitude, homelessness and violence are rampant and youngsters are denied schooling, enslaved or preyed upon by human traffickers."
Gosh, we thought we had it bad. We don't even have a clue!
What can we as widows do to help our sisters around the world? The easiest thing is to make a donation to the Loomba Foundation, which focuses on easing the plight of widows worldwide. Their address is:
The Loomba Foundation
c/o Gutenberg Communications
555 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
I sent a donation today and I intend to contact them to see what else can be done. I'll keep you posted.