The prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe is high and affecting many families. Many widows and orphans are left with insufficient resources for basic living. They have the rights to access to assistance or inheritance if they can present the marriage certificate, birth certificate, and the death certificates of their deceased family members. However, many of the poor delay registering for these certificates for reasons such as complex administrative procedure and lacking fund to pay for the expenses incurred. As a result, they are left without assistance and cannot exercise their rights. Meanwhile, property grabbing by relatives is very common among these families. In many occasions these widows and orphans are chased away from their own houses which may be the only property left by the deceased.
CEDAR supports Trinity Project Trust to organize awareness raising workshops and trainings for empowering children and the communities, demanding and protecting the children’s rights through early birth registration, access to parental death certificates and apply for their shares of the inheritance. Adults are also encouraged to write their wills, safeguarding their family’s access to their inheritance. Our partner also assists the poor who cannot produce the aforementioned legal documents to gain rightful access to their estates or resolve other property grabbing problems.
WHO defines “adolescent” as those aged between 10 and 19. Adolescents are not children but not yet considered to be adult. As a result, they are easily being neglected. During adolescence period, both boys and girls experience physical, psychological and social characteristics changes. They have to prepare themselves for being leaders of future. It is therefore important to provide them knowledge and values on rights and justice issues as well as civil responsibilities.
Nevertheless, many adolescents in Bangladesh do not have schooling opportunities due to poverty. They are illiterate, usually jobless and being ignored most of the time. They, especially girls, know little about their rights and are thus vulnerable. The poor families tend to marry off their daughters as young as 13-14 years old in order to save family expenditure and dowry price. However, it is very difficult for these adolescence girls who are not mature yet to adapt to new lives staying with a new family. Moreover, early marriage and early pregnancy can be very harmful to their lives.
To tackle with this problem, CEDAR supports PARI Development Trust to implement Adolescence Empowerment and Education Project in rural areas of Central Bangladesh. Partner talked about different issues like civil and family responsibilities, relations between two sexes, personal hygiene, psychological health, women rights and marriage issues through games, group discussions and role play to help the adolescence build up rights and justice values. Also, partner train them in vocational skills and build up their capacity for generating income. Meanwhile, seminars are organized for parents, community leaders and religious leaders to let them understand needs of adolescents and encourage them to communicate positively with the adolescents. This project emphasizes girls’ rights and disseminates the bad effect of early marriage in a hope to join hands with parents and community leaders to stop early marriage and early pregnancy to protect the girls.
Rashida was only 15 years old but her father planned to marry her off to a 22-year-old man. Rashida and her mother were told about the bad effect and restrictions of law against early marriage. They seek advice of the local government officials with the help of project staff and finally persuaded her father not to marry her off.