Kandahar widows pray for peace

4 Sep 2011

Kandahar widows pray for peace

KANDAHAR - Hundreds of widows at the Kandahar Women Affairs Department (DoWA) recited the Holy Quran and prayed together for peace at an event jointly organized by the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) to mark Ramadan and as part of the International Day of Peace campaign.

“I lost my son and my husband to this war. It is impossible for me to take care of the family. There are hundreds of widows like me. We pray to Almighty Allah to liberate us from this curse of war,” said Shahida, a 50-year old widow.

There are an estimated 1.5 million war widows in Afghanistan, according to UN figures. Many endure extreme poverty, ostracism, violence, homelessness, ill health and discrimination in law and custom.

According to UN Women, widows are often neglected by laws and development strategies making the situation of widows “invisible.”

To give special recognition to the situation of widows of all ages and across regions and cultures, the UN General Assembly declared 23 June as International Widows’ Day. Click here to read more about how the day was marked in Afghanistan.

“Women can play their part while working shoulder to shoulder with men to advocate for peace,” said Rukia Asakzai, the head of DoWA.

“I wish I could help widows more but unfortunately I cannot assist all of them, for which I really feel sad,” she added.

The women who participated in the event received clothing to mark Eid, the end of Ramadan.

The event was also part of lead-up to the International Day of Peace, marked across Afghanistan and around the world on 21 September.

By UNAMA Kandahar