A voice for women in Zimbabwe

A voice for women in Zimbabwe

Concern Worlwide is promoting women's rights in Africa. The articulate and ever-smiling Netsai Sibanda, lives in Gowke, Zimbabwe. Her children go to school and her farm is thriving. Netsai’s hard word, with some support from Concern, has turned her life around.

Tragedy 

Netsai’s husband died in 2007, leaving her the difficult task of raising three children on her own: “I was four months pregnant when my husband died. It was such a terrible time for me. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next, you know we women have very few rights here.”

No land rights

Traditionally in most parts of Zimbabwe, when a woman marries she moves to her husband’s homestead, which is what Netsai did. But, when her husband died she found she had no right to stay where she was. As Netsai explains, “I was faced with two choices at the time, to either move back to my parents home or marry my husband’s younger brother and be allowed to stay on the land. I didn’t want to do either.”

Concern's charity work

Faced which such a dire dilemma, Netsai turned to the Concern-supported Star Programme. It is run by locally trained volunteers who encourage the community to tackle the problems such as HIV and AIDS.

With help from the Star volunteers, Netsai persuaded her in-laws to let her stay and continue to farm her land: “This was what I wanted, I didn’t want to take another man for support like so many single mothers have to…My husband may be dead, but I have three children to live for.”

Giving others a voice

Now Netsai has turned from a woman who was fearful about her and her children’s future, to a commanding voice for women within the community. As Netsai happily explains, “I don’t need a man for money.

Education

My farming is doing this for me. I sell what produce I can and we eat the rest. My older kids are in school. I want them to be intelligent and know they are not disadvantaged just because their father died. And I want other women to know this too… women around me are beginning to realise they don’t have to be the men’s property. They can have a voice.”

Women of Concern

Concern has established a group called Women of Concern. It supports work like this, with girls and women in the world’s poorest countries. Read more.

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