Starting in 2009, we launched a program to support the Revenue-Generating Activities of widows who are raising families. Our part was rather than just paying for food and school fees to support these women and children, why not take steps to make them independent? Don’t give them a fish; teach them to fish instead! This led to the creation of groups of widows who wanted to develop their economic activity to support their families.
Where once there were only 34, there are now 70 widows signed up for the program—proof of the passion that it inspires. Its goal is both to offer financing to launch IGAs and to give these women a forum to talk and support each other independently.
From the very start, they decided to create a common fund with their own spare money. This special fund allows them to meet their most urgent needs and to react in times of crisis (serious illness of group members, etc.).
We feel necessary to mention that many of these women are living with HIV/AIDS. Living with this disease in Togo is a burden from a hygienic, family, and social standpoint. Our goal is also to give these women support for medical care and regular check-ups. We are currently trying to create a pharmacy with anti-retroviral drugs; this is vital because Atakpamé’s hospital often runs short on these.
We would also like to salute the courage and strength of these women in fighting against intolerance, their tenacity in the face of difficulty, and their joy in spite of all the obstacles they face.
In April 2013, Janine Luke, one of our principal sponsors, made a donation allowing us to support these widows for the entire year. We would like to thank her with all our heart.