Plight of Upper East widows as the world marks their day

The barbaric treatment of widows in the Upper East Region through some widowhood rites has compelled thousands of women who lost their husbands to live a miserable life. TV3 news explored some of the challenges widows in the Upper East Region go through after the death of their husbands as the world marks International Widows Day. In the Upper East Region, the number of reported cases of widows maltreated is about 25,000. The complaints range from assault from late husbands’ family, bad traditional widowhood rites, rape and many more. One of such widows is Nyaama Ayambire who lost her husband five years ago.  She is struggling to survive with her two year old daughter who are being sheltered by the Widows and Orphans Movement, an NGO based in Bolgatanga. The NGO has for the past 25 years been working with 11,000 widows and providing them with economic livelihood support and shelter. Nyaama Ayambire was subjected to some bad widowhood rites which compelled her to travel to Kumasi to engage in “Kayaye”. In Kumasi, hot water poured on her legs and was rescued by a man who later impregnated her and denied the pregnancy. She then came back to Bongo to her husband’s house where her two kids from her late husband lived. She later gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. Speaking in her native Grune language,  she said her late husband’s family told her it is their tradition that she gives birth again after the twins otherwise they will torment her. So a man from her village called Yelwongo impregnated her as they were getting ready to marry but the man eventually left her after she gave birth to a baby girl as she struggles to fend for the kids. Currently, the twins are being taken care of at Afrikids Next Generation Home in Bolgatanga while the two kids he had with her late husband are with the man’s family in Bongo.

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One of the desk officers at Widows and Orphans Movement, Jonathan Alataaba Adanigna said the movement has been supporting the widows in various areas to make a decent living. The institution has rented a single room in a mud house for Nyaama Ayambire and her baby girl about six months ago after she was sent away by her father who also maltreated her after going through similar treatment in the hands of her late husband’s family and the ordeals she went through just to survive. She is currently unemployed and not engaged in any petty trading as well. By Tanko Mohammed Rabiu |TV3|]]>