Today is International Widow's Day. We highlight one of our clients, T. Claire, a widow who was restored to her land, below:
Two years ago, a man began harassing and threatening Tumushabe Claire, a pregnant widow with five children living near Kampala, Uganda. He wanted her land and demanded that she leave her home.
This man was T. Claire’s brother-in-law’s son. T. Claire’s late husband’s family wanted her to marry her brother-in-law. She refused.
Together with his family, this man destroyed her crops and coffee plantation, eliminating much of T. Claire’s income. Her lost income forced her children to drop out of school. Several attempts were made to mediate the situation, but they all failed. Mediation attempts did nothing to stop the perpetrator; instead, he became more violent. A police officer – rather than stopping the abuse - simply advised Tumushabe Claire to leave her home for her safety, so she and her children fled for their lives.
When T. Claire returned to her land in January 2015 to find some food for her hungry children (including her new infant), the perpetrator rode in on a motorcycle, jumped off, and chased her on foot. He said, “Today I will finish you. Today I will kill you!”
He attempted to grab the machete that T. Claire had been using to slice jackfruit, and in the process, cut her hands. He chased her off her own property, leaving her wounded.
Last year, IJM took on Tumushabe Claire’s case, and immediately began working to restore T. Claire and her children to her home and to arrest the perpetrator. But he fled, and could not be found.
With IJM's assistance, he was finally arrested on November 3rd. Two days later, the perpetrator was officially charged and remanded.
His arrest is bringing IJM Kampala’s vision into reality: a day when widows and orphans no longer live in fear that their homes and land will be taken from them.
On January 6, 2016, T. Claire was successfully restored to her rebuilt home that had been destroyed by her perpetrator. Now safe in her home, T. Claire and her children are beginning to thrive. IJM’s aftercare team has helped her establish a chicken coop to generate income. T. Claire has received counseling and her children are beginning to return to school.
Said T. Claire: “I want the world to know my story because my in-laws did bad things to me and my children. I want women to know that the law will protect them.”
Support widows like T. Claire and their families.