Today is International Widows’ Day, marked each year on June 23rd by the United Nations. It calls attention to the world’s 258 million widows in need; nearly one in 10 live in extreme poverty.
Kenya Hope’s Joy Mueller says the Bible makes frequent mention of this vulnerable population.
“James 1:27 comes to mind, and that says, ‘Religion that is pure and undefiled before God is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction.’ These women are oppressed and afflicted,” Mueller says.
Women are treated as second-rate citizens in many countries, leaving them with little – if any – education, and few options outside of marriage. Widows fall to an even lower social tier.
“From my experience working with widows in rural Kenya, I would say 98% of them are uneducated and illiterate. The biggest contributor to their poverty is [the] polygamous society, meaning that their husbands can take more than one wife,” Mueller says.
Often when men die, they leave multiple wives and children with no source of income. Plus, another common Kenyan custom gives the husband’s family rights over everything the couple owned, Mueller adds.
“One of our widows, who was more educated, she had a five-bedroom home, and they had two cars. But when her husband died, they (her husband’s family) came in and took everything.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth
CALL TO ACTION
- Lift up oppressed widows around the world. Pray they will find freedom in Christ.
- Pray for mercy and a betterment of their current circumstances.