Naomi Widows Project was established by Judith Irwin of Murphy, N.C. She came to Tanzania in May 2016 on her second trip. This time her focus was on ministering to the spiritual needs of widows. But she saw the other needs as well and the vision of the Naomi Project was formed. In Tanzania. There is no life insurance, pensions or social security in Tanzania. Widows are often left destitute. We got a great start with a generous contribution from Stella Hirji, proprietor of African Trails. Stella is a widow herself and she arranges all our mission trips. She sews generously into the ministry.
After the launch of the project, the administration is handled by deaconesses with the South East of Lake Victoria Diocese in the Women, Children and Diaconia Department.
The purpose of the project is to provide seed money for the widows to start their own small business to support themselves and children. Small businesses are the main source of income for the people. The project is currently supporting fourteen widows from different areas in and around Shinyanga.
The first ten widows in this program were given enough Tanzanian shillings to start the following types of business.
- Selling of charcoal
- Catering business
- Selling vegetables in the market
- Raising chickens
- Selling poultry feeds
- Selling grains in market
- Raising pigs
- Opening a small shop
These widows have proudly completed their terms of the contract and paid their reimbursement so that others can be served. What a success to see that these women being able not only survive and take care of their children but to live in dignity following the tragic loss of their husbands!
Four new widows have now applied and been accepted qualifying by having a business plan. These plans include starting a pharmacy, selling charcoal, selling porridge flour for children on a special diet, and selling grains. The project has expanded to the Western District of Khama, Bairidi district and middle south (Maganzo) and South East area around Kishapu. The project has improved the standard of living and given hope and spiritual healing to the widows.
What a wonderful opportunity to be a blessing to widows and their children. What a wonderful investment! Please contact Bob Allen, Missions Director of the Mid South District LCMS in the to find out how you can contribute to this wonderful cause of helping the widows and their families.
We thank Judith Irwin for her vision and work starting this ministry. Be blessed as you look at these photos.