“When our church cancelled its upcoming Mother’s Day event because of the nation-wide quarantine, a member of my church asked me to visit a widow who was planning to attend our church event,” said Azim*.
Azim is a local worker in a majority Muslim country that announced a nation-wide home quarantine to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Through visiting the woman, Azim discovered 14 other widowed women, all between the ages of 60 and 75 years old, in the same neighbouring village with similar issues of little finances and no family support. As all stores—including supermarkets—will be closed during the two-week quarantine, Azim and a few of his friends pooled together their money and were able to provide grocery items for eight of the widows.
“These widows are elderly women who can’t risk contracting the virus and don’t have enough money to buy food for one day, far less for two weeks,” explained Azim. The widows live in isolation and are experiencing heightened fear during these times of uncertainty, especially since they are neglected by their family and neighbours. “A lot of the widows shared with me that they are constantly grieving and feel depressed after losing their husband. They question why their children, whom they gave their life to raise, would abandon them and not care for them when they need it the most,” he said.
Azim admitted that though he knew it was common for widows in his country to suffer from abandonment and poverty, God brought the severity of it right before his eyes. “God showed us we must support these widows not just during this time of the coronavirus but to support them in a long-term way.” The encounter has inspired him to get his church involved in developing programmes to meet the widow’s social and financial needs. “We want to help integrate them back into society and make them feel loved and that they are not forgotten. This is a beautiful opportunity to share the love of Christ with them practically,” he noted.