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Widows


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Widows


Zebah's Story


One day my husband was here, we had a good life, the next day he was gone

As we listened to Zebah the deep pain behind her eyes was clear but there was something else there as well, a fierce determination of a fighter, a survivor.  One of the countless bombings in the city of Kabul left Zebah a widow and single mother of three. All her husband's belongings went to his family, not to her as it is the law.

She was out on the street begging when she met a family. She was taken in by this wealthy family, who let her and her boys stay in the shed at the back of the property. Every day Zebah cooks, cleans, does laundry and feeds the animals.  She and her boys are allowed to eat the scraps that are left over and take the abuse that some of the family members give her. Zebah lives in constant fear of being cast away.

 

Zebah's dream is to be free and able to provide for her sons so they can go to school.

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Widows


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Widows


DEFINITION

A woman who has lost her spouse by death and has not remarried. [1]

 

FACTS

  • In Afghanistan there are two million widows nationwide which includes 500,000 who live in the capital of Kabul.[2]

  • Due to cultural restrictions and woman's ability to work and travel outside the home they face lives of grinding poverty and isolation.[2]

  • UN estimates show that 85% of women in Afghanistan are illiterate.[3]

  • Men are the main breadwinners of their families. So when a husband dies, women struggle to find food and raise children. In Afghanistan the law permits the husband’s family to assume custody of the children if the widow remarries outside his family so most widows choose not to remarry.[3]

  • There are more than 245 million widows worldwide; 115 million of these widows live in extreme poverty. [4]

  • According to the report, the countries with the highest number of widows in 2010 were China with 43 million, Indian with 42.4 million, the United states with 13.6 million, Indonesia with 9.4 million, Japan with 7.4 million, Russia with 7.1 Million, Brazil with 5.6 million, Germany with 5.1 million, and Bangladesh and Vietnam with 4.7 million each. [4]

  • 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 prayed upon by human traffickers. [4]

  • In the world 1.5 million widows' children die before their fifth birthday. [5]

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Get involved


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Get involved


Click below to learn more about Afghanistan's War Widows and how you can Get Involved

 

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See the challenge. value the individual. partner for change.


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See the challenge. value the individual. partner for change.


There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women
— Kofi Annan