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19.07.2005 General News

Widows bemoan widowhood rituals


Nalerigu (N/R), July 19, GNA - A forty- five year-old widow from Nalerigu in the Northern Region, Mrs. Lariba Mohammed, stated at the weekend that she was stripped naked, her hands and legs dipped into hot water and kept in indoors for a couple of days when her husband passed away.

Another widow (name withheld) narrated similar shocking experiences, and said she could not attend church services because of the shame and humiliation she went through after the death of her husband. These outmoded widowhood practices are still deeply rooted in most parts of the three Northern Regions of the country.

The reason for the inhuman treatment in most cases, is for the widows to prove that they had no hands in the death of their husbands. These came to light when the Widow and Orphans Ministry inaugurated a 110-member widows' group at Nalerigu, in the East Mamprusi district of the Northern region.

The Director of the Ministry, Ms Betty Ayagiba stressed that such outmoded cultural practices were an abuse of human dignity and a violation of human rights.

She said it was against this background that the Ministry was organizing numerous durbars and workshops to sensitise chiefs, opinion leaders and all stakeholders on the need to stop such barbaric practices.

Inaugurating the group, the Director urged them to exhibit a sense of compassion for one another in their communities. She indicated that for the past years, her outfit had been supporting widows' groups in the country logistically and financially to undertake basket weaving, batik tie and dye, and agricultural activities, among others.

Ms Ayagiba also stated that the Ministry has set up an HIV/Aids counselling unit for widows and orphans. She disclosed that the Ministry has so far enrolled 210 orphans into schools in the Upper East Region and called on NGOs and philanthropists to come to the aid of the Ministry to enable it to discharge its functions efficiently. June 19 05