Women of Grace: Widow's Fund
The mission of the Women Of Grace Widows’ Fund is to enact and make real an ongoing structure to alleviate the extreme poverty faced by widows in Malawi by providing funding to meet basic food, shelter, and safety needs, while creating opportunities and resources that enable and empower widows to establish their own self-sufficiency and independence, regardless of religious affiliation.The Women Of Grace Widows' Fund is a joint mission project of the Watertown and Canton First Presbyterian Churches.
Since 2008, the Women Of Grace Widows’ Fund has been assisting and empowering women in Malawi, Africa. Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries with an average per capita income of $170. Life expectancy is age 47 with malaria, AIDS and malnutrition as the leading causes of death.
To become a widow in Malawi means to fall into extreme poverty. As in other areas of Africa, the family of the deceased husband forcibly, and sometimes violently, takes all possessions from the widow, leaving her with the children and, if she is lucky, a roof over her head.
Grace Chiumia became one of those widows in 2004. Grace’s friend, Rev. Fred Garry of the First Presbyterian Church in Watertown, New York learned of Grace’s predicament and sought assistance for her. When presented with the generous donation, Grace responded that there was enough to help her as well as other widows in Mzuzu, Malawi. Thus the Women Of Grace Widows’ Fund was born.
Our Work Today
Today the Widows’ Fund has grown to assist widows throughout Northern Malawi by providing funds for school fees, medical expenses, roofing materials, fertilizer for gardens, shallow wells and legal advocacy fees, The Women Of Grace Widows’ Fund also provides micro-loans to widows to start businesses.