Widows in Vanuatu do not want to live in the poverty of isolation and exclusion.

Some of these widows have joined other countries worldwide to commemorate the International Widows’ Day yesterday in a parade through Port Vila town with banners calling for equality and justice.

They want recognition.

It is the obligation of the government of the day to address widows’ issues and support the important role they play socially and economically.

All governments everywhere must not ignore this neglected gender and human rights issue.

This year marks the 3{sup}rd{/sup} anniversary since Vanuatu started observing the day.

Following her brief about how International Widows was introduced and its importance, spouse of the Deputy Prime Minister, Moana Carcasses, Marie Louise Milne, made her urgent call to the government not to ignore widows.

“As the Madame of the Deputy PM, I am asking the National Council of Chiefs and the Vanuatu Christian Council to take action in supporting widows and their families.

“I am appealing to every individual person in the country, to understand the challenges facing widows and find solutions to,” Mrs Carcasses was speaking at Saralana stage on the absence of the Deputy PM.

Like everyone else, all widows have the right to live a better life.

Sadly, statistics shows that around 259 million widows are suffering in silence worldwide and over 115 of them live in poverty struggling to survive.

Many of these women and their children are malnourished, exposed to disease, and subjected to extreme forms of deprivation.

Widows also face harsh economic reality as they need to earn money to survive. Despite coping with the loss of a spouse or the breadwinner, the main reason for going on lin life is the responsibility of raising their children.

Parenting challenges faced by widows are immense than those faced by a couple raising a child together as they have to play the role of both mother and father.

In addition to dealing with loneliness a widow may sometimes feel burdened due to added responsibilities.

‘Together we raise our voices against discrimination, poverty, and injustice faced by widows and their children’ was theme of this year’s Widow’s Day.

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