What Happens to Widows like Esther in Tanzania?

Thank you for loving our kids in Tanzania through child sponsorships, giving, and praying. You are making an difference. In our last update, we were excited to share how God is using goats (yes, goats!) to help provide for our ministry.

Today, we have a new update from our team—

We want to stand in the gap for all kids and families in Tanzania.

In most situations, children who come to us for help come from the streets and stay for several years. But a recent situation highlighted another way we can help stand in the gap during a life crisis.

*Esther is the mother of *Leah who is in 3rd grade.
Sadly, Esther’s husband passed away just a few months ago.

Tanzanian Constitution allows equal rights for men and women to own property. But customary law—which unfortunately takes precedence at times, especially in rural areas—says that widows have no rights to inherit anything from their husbands.

Which means the deceased husband’s family can come and tell the widow to leave her home immediately.

This practice leaves thousands of women and children in Tanzania vulnerable to poverty and homelessness.


After Esther’s husband died, her husband’s family came to claim her home and tell Esther and Leah to leave.

What are a widow and fatherless child supposed to do in this situation? Where are they supposed to live?

Esther and Leah (right) eventually found temporary relief from some of Esther’s extended family who allowed them to stay in their home while she attempted to get back on her feet.

Esther worked hard and saved money. She planned to start a small business, hoping first to cover the costs associated with living with her relatives. Unfortunately—as an added blow to her already vulnerable situation—the equipment for the business was stolen one night.

It has never been recovered.

Now Esther’s relatives are asking her to move out because they can no longer afford to cover the costs associated with caring for her and Leah.

Next stop for Esther and Leah: the streets of Mwanza.

Recently, someone told Esther about our ministry in Tanzania.

She and Leah came by to ask if we could help.

We encouraged Esther to first go to Child Welfare Services to explain the situation and make them aware that she wanted to temporarily place Leah in our care for a short period of time.

In the meantime, we will help Esther find a lawyer who can file a petition so that she can have a rightful claim to the property she owned with her husband. Esther is confident that if she’s able to legally get the house and property back, things should stabilize for her and Leah.

This is our hope for them as well. We want Esther and Leah to thrive as a family.

So we want to be able to stand in the gap in situations like this, especially when a mom loves her child and wants to do what is best and is struggling to find solid footing in life. We want to help children like Leah stay in school and be cared for while her mom works to reclaim what is legally hers.

We want to do all we can to help keep families off the streets.

Would you pray with us for Esther and Leah during this difficult time?


*Names changed for protection