The Ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania to the Kingdom of The Netherlands Her Excellency Irene F. Mkwawa Kasyanju has commended the Widows and Orphans Development Foundation for its efforts towards addressing the challenges of widows and orphans in rural Tanzania.
The honorable Ambassador (pictured left) gave the remarks during the meeting organised by WODF in commemoration of the International Widows Day on 23rd June 2022 in The Hague whereby she also inaugurated the new Board of Directors of WODF.
In her remarks, the honorable Ambassador shared her personal experience growing up as a child of a widow in Tanzania.
During the event, the WODF Chairperson Jamila Sulu (pictured right) gave a brief overview of the situation of widows and orphans in Tanzania in which she informed that economic hardships among the widows has caused irregular attendance of their children in school or drop out of school due to lack of essential school supplies such as uniforms and other necessities.
She also pointed out that widow ‘cleansing’ which is a cultural belief practiced with the aim of getting rid of a bad spirit believed to be haunting a widow after the death of her husband is still a reality in some communities in Tanzania.
This belief is dangerous because it involves unprotected (and in many cases forced) sexual intercouse between a widow and a male relative from the husband’s family or another man who is ‘approved’ by the community as a cleanser capable of driving away the ‘bad spirits’ carried by a widowed woman.