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‘Safari ya Mjane’ ignites hope for widows

Deputy President’s spouse, Pastor Dorcas Rigathi, has committed to uplifting the welfare of widows in the country through her initiative known as ‘Safari ya Mjane’.

Speaking at Malava Boys’ High School in Kakamega, when she met a host of widows from the county, Mrs. Rigathi said the initiative being run under the auspices of the Office of the Spouse of the Deputy President seeks to ensure socio-economic empowerment to achieve financial independence for widows in the country.

Drawing from her own experience having lost her father at a tender age, Mrs. Rigathi said she was driven by what they went through as a family to start the initiative while still at the university to assist widows.

“As I stand, I’m the voice of the widows, and I will always defend you,” she assured.

She, however, challenged widows to change their mindsets, stop self-pity, and instead engage in socio-economic activities to uplift their welfare.

“I call upon you not to fall into self-pity but to work hard using your hands and skills to uplift your lives,” she added.

She asked them to work towards economic empowerment through initiating viable income-generating activities, even as the government gives them support.

She cautioned them against involving themselves in brewing illicit brews, saying the vice has ruined the life of the boy child and must be eliminated.

Mrs. Rigathi called on the Judiciary to expedite cases of succession and those involving widows in order to safeguard the rights of women.

“I call upon the judiciary to fasttrack cases affecting widows; it is painful to lose a husband and end up following cases in court, some up to 35 years before they are determined,” she said.

Speaking at the forum, Kakamega Governor’s spouse, Prof. Janet Kasili Barasa, noted that the greatest challenge facing widows in the county was wife inheritance, loss of property,and land.

Kakamega County Women Representative Elsie Muhanda said the number of widows was overwhelming and that the funds she receives under the National Government Affirmative Action Fund were insufficient to address the many challenges facing widows.

I have done some work for widows, but the allocation is insufficient to address all their needs,” she added.

She asked women and youth to take advantage of revolving funds under the national as well as the county governments to improve their economic well-being.

By George Kaiga

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