Hope that Brings Purpose to Life

Gem Village, Kenya


Death is a natural calamity that cannot be avoided. Death is especially difficult for husbands and wives. When two people are married, they become one until death separates them. This oneness includes the shared responsibilities and efforts of the couple, so that when one spouse dies, the burdens are doubled for the surviving spouse. What used to be shared by two now falls upon one. Cultural traditions can make it even worse for widows, as it is customary for a widow to be inherited by her deceased husband’s family. If the woman refuses to be inherited by the family, she and her children are kicked out and all of her belongings are taken from her. It is a very painful situation and has caused mental health disabilities for many. Some women end up committing suicide so that their children may go and live with her husband’s family.


GHNI-Kenya recognized these issues and stood alongside the widows by forming the Gem Widows’ Association. Training sessions teach capacity-building and low-interest loans help women become self-sufficient and capable of taking care of their families. GHNI also assists these women in finding the right legal offices to make sure they get what belongs to them.


The Gem Widows’ Association also holds individual and group functions to help the women earn money to pay back their soft loans, interest-free. Mama Cecilia leads the group and sees to it that all women participate fully for the common goal of transformation. A catering group was formed and has been invited to many community functions, allowing the women to earn money for both the community and their families. The group’s success has helped women to provide food and education for their children.