The number of children left without parents to raise them is shockingly high. This has led to Children becoming the primary care givers of other children. The term used for this is child headed households (CHH).
Problem: Currently women and children are left incredibly vulnerable when their husbands or parents die, due to the traditional inheritance laws which forbid women and children from inheriting. This has led to the most vulnerable in the Swazi society left homeless and property less at a time when they are in great need.
Solution: Working with traditional leaders and educating the local communities to the rights of women and the need for greater understanding.
What we are doing
Our on the ground team will facilitate workshops with traditional leaders and arbitrating between families and communities and local leaders, which has shown great success.
Goodness was widowed at the age of 30. She was living with her husband’s relatives with her three children aged 8, 10, 12. When her husband died Goodness (who is HIV positive) was blamed for bringing into her home and so was made to move out of her husband’s families homestead with her three children. She was left destitute and the traditional laws support the in laws choice.
We have been working with the local chiefs to empowerment them around women and child rights. Because of this training and consequence arbitration the local council have given Goodness a plot of land to build her house.
This caused outrage within the community, who again tried to chase Goodness away as not only was she openly positive but as a woman she was not suppose to live alone and own her property.
Following further workshops and arbitration between the key community members. The local chief ruled that this land was now Goodness’s and that they would not change their mind. Goodness now has a home for her and her children.
We currently have 26 people waiting for us to support them in the same way. 19 are women 7 are children.
It costs: £500 to hold a two day workshop in the community for education
It costs £300 for arbitration
We want to go further still and take some test cases to court around inheritance, school fees, pension rights, sexual rights and other women rights issues. Although the cases will vary in cost approximately £6000