Women around the world are disproportionately affected by economic hardship, violence, and social restriction. But for women who have been widowed, the pressures and disadvantages are even more severe.
June 23rd commemorates International Widows' Day, declared by the UN as a day of awareness of the social, political, and economic erasure of widows worldwide. Women who lose their husbands often lose their rights, too, experiencing limited financial, social, and political freedom; upon the death of a father, inheritance is generally split between sons, leaving daughters and mothers alike with diminished means of survival.
As a result of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, as many as 800,000 Rwandans were killed. As many as 1/6th of those who survived were left widowed. Women who lost children were left to face the prospect of recovery alone; women with children became the sole caretakers of their families, left at a greater disadvantage than ever before. 76% of genocide survivors who were subjected to sexual violence contracted HIV, making their fight for life even more dire.
When Same Sky was founded in 2008, aiding and uplifting female Rwandan genocide survivors became our primary mission. Over the past decade, we've sought to provide these women with more than just financial independence--we provide jobs, a trade, a sense of purpose and dignity, scholarship opportunities, and a warm community of women full of love and support. Founded by a woman for the sake of all women, Same Sky believes that those widowed by the horror of violence must be guaranteed the opportunity to reclaim their future, working to make sure that their voices, stories, and struggles will never again be erased from global conversation.
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