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40,000 widows in T&T, many suffer in silence

Published: 
Sunday, June 24, 2018
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Widow Ruby Thompson, left, receives a token from Roxanne Charles La Caille during an event hosted by the Widows Association of T&T in commemoration of International Widows Day 2018 at Naparima College's auditorium in San Fernando, yesterday. At right is Ann Bedeau. Photo by:Rishi Ragoonath

KEVON FELMINE

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As T&T joined the United Nations (UN) in celebrating International Widow’s Day, the Widows Association of T&T is working to establish a panel which includes lawyers, counsellors, and psychologists to help members through their moments of grief.

Association founder Apostle Terrence Honore said that there were more than 39, 700 widows in T&T and many of them suffer in silence. At a commemorative programme at the Naparima College auditorium yesterday, Honore lamented that International Widow’s Day had not been observed locally and it was only now that the Government had recognised it.

He said programmes geared towards helping widows by the various agencies were not well defined. "They are given the runaround when their husbands die and they are at a loss. They are sad and crying all the time, but that aside, we want to give them encouragement and hope." The association started in 2014 and registered as an NGO in 2015 for the purpose of advocating greater attention to widows. He said when most woman lose their husbands, they lose a part of their life. However, he wanted widows to know that they did not have to suffer and be taken advantage of by relatives or the system.

"We’re setting up a panel, a resource group of lawyers, psychologists, guidance officers and so on to help with this so that widows can call and get help when they are in bereavement. Legal matters, family-related matters, psychological matters, grievance matters, anything that can help a widow cope because widows, some of them give back to society as they should."

UN facts on widows

The UN estimated that there are 258 million widows around the world, with over 115 million of them living in deep poverty. Many elderly widows face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, based on their gender, age, rural location or disability. In other cases, some are young when they lose their husbands to conflict or because they were married as children to a much older man.

The UN said these women face a lifetime of widowhood and once widowed, women in many countries often face a denial of inheritance and land rights, degrading and life-threatening mourning and burial rites, and other forms of widow abuse.

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