The Jamil and Nyanga Jaward Foundation holds a joyous celebration to honor the resilience of widows in seven communities around Freetown. Over 200 widows and their children gathered in their various communities to mark the holidays together and participate in sensitization on legal rights and accessing benefits.
For many of the widows, it was a welcome respite from daily struggles and a chance to connect with others facing similar hardships. "We are very happy and grateful for this event," said Isatu Koroma from the Red Pump community. "It brings us together and helps us cope with our losses."
Sitta Boima from Dwarzark echoed those sentiments. "These are the kinds of things we need during difficult times," she said. The festivities, which included dancing, singing, and a traditional meal, brought smiles and cheer to their faces during this festive season.
The foundation, which advocates for equal inheritance rights for widows and children, organized the event as part of its ongoing efforts to support underprivileged communities. "This program is very timely as many widows face challenges celebrating the holidays," explained field staff Aruna A Kamara. "We want them to feel a sense of belonging in their communities."
Experts were on the ground to educate attendees about accessing their late spouses' benefits through institutions like NASSIT as well as legal rights under inheritance law. For many widows, claiming what is rightfully theirs presents an uphill battle against interference from in-laws.
One Marian Conteh recounted how her husband's family seized all his documents to prevent her from obtaining benefits after his death. Stories like these, said Kamara, demonstrate why the foundation's work empowering widows is so crucial.
Yealie Tenneh Kargbo of the Kroobay Community was among those expressing gratitude. "We are very happy and appreciative of the founders thinking of us during this time," she said.
The celebrations brought a welcome diversion from daily hardships as widows from communities including Wellington, Dwarzark, Red Pump, and Kroobay. They exchanged songs, dances, and well-wishes. It also fostered camaraderie and encouragement among women facing shared experiences of loss.
As Kamara noted, there were many heartwarming stories of overcoming immense adversity with resilience and courage. Events like these rekindle a spirit of community and empowerment for society's most vulnerable members during their darkest hours.
In giving widows a platform to have fun and gain knowledge of their rights, the JNJ Foundation shows its ongoing commitment to uplifting these strong women in the face of injustice. Its celebration of resilience through advocacy and solidarity is impacting communities across the country.