Many widows in West Africa have little or no material and moral support after their husbands’ deaths. Often their in-laws want to take their children and sometimes even accuse them in the death of their husbands. Sometimes these mothers give in to the intense cultural pressures; other times they fight to keep their children.
The Dorcas Widow's project has stepped forward to provide spiritual, social, and physical support for these marginalised women.
The goal of the project is to provide capital in the form of micro-loans to widows to help them start small business. Each widow choses what she will do—pottery, vegetable gardening, breeding of animals such as goats, sheep and cows, or cereal banks. Some open stalls in the market to sell food or wares. Each widow attends a training seminar which gives her knowledge and tools to invest money and to earn the amounts she needs for living and her children’s education.
There are touching stories from the widow beneficiaries who have proven to be skilled entrepreneurs. Many report that they are able to buy medecines for their children and send them to school. One widow reports enthusiastically, "I was able to buy a wife for my son!"
Today, two well-organized programmes are thriving in Niger and Burkina Faso, with dreams to expand into Benin.