THE Council of Churches in Zambia has called on the government, society and the Church all over the world to take a collective action towards the plight of widows and lessen the burdens they carry in their efforts to provide for their families. In a communique signed by CCZ general secretary Fr Emmanuel Chikoya, the 24 CCZ Heads of Church said the plight of millions of widows all over the world has not been paid the attention it deserves hence the call for a collective action that will help lessen their burdens they carry.
The church leaders said true religion was one that practically reaches out to the needy in society. The leaders said there were a lot of ways society could take care of widows apart from the traditional provision of material support, hence their call to action in raising awareness on a matter which has most often been ignored by the world. In leading by example, the leaders have committed themselves to proactively speaking against all forms of injustices affecting the human dignity of widows by preaching and sensitising all congregations against the ugly acts of property grabbing upon the death of their husbands.
The church leaders also resolved to ensure continued support and presence during and after burial of the deceased as well as begin to sensitise men on the importance of allowing their wives to be active economically so that in case they pass on, their wives could be able to sustain themselves and their families. The church leaders further resolved to develop systems of mentorship that would strengthen widows in accepting the change of lifestyle that comes with the loss of their loved ones. They said this would be achieved by promoting literacy skills among widows in order to widen their web of opportunities in the competitive world.
The church leaders also embraced the concept of village banking among widows and at denominational level for it had proved to be a dependable source of income for widows to venture into small-scale businesses to sustain their lives. CCZ communications officer Michael Mazakaza said after their husbands pass on, many women were forced to fight for their rights and overcome many obstacles to ensure their social and economic development. Mazakaza said it was estimated that there were over 245 million widows worldwide, nearly half of whom live in extreme poverty and were subject to cruel violence.
A fortnight ago, the Council of Churches in Zambia in conjunction with the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) and the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross held a one-day Church Leaders’ Workshop on the plight of widows before holding a Widows’ workshop the following day at the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka.
The two workshops were held in preparation for the 2019 International Widows’ Day which fell in June under the theme “Respecting the dignity and God’s image in every widow.”