Widows and Orphans Development Foundation

KvK number 80821162

Every little helps

A cross section of Tanzanian widows in one of the meetings called by the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner in 2019 to hear their grievances particularly those related to inheritance issues.

Why widows empowerment?

“When widows are denied the right to access, own, control or inherit property and the land they live on, it is a violation of their rights. When these women and their children are evicted from their homes because their husbands have died, it is a violation of their rights. When a lack of savings means a lack of health care for themselves and education for their children and grandchildren, it is a violation of their rights. And enduring traditional practices directed at widows, which are inhumane and degrading, is a serious violation of their human rights" (UNFPA, 2011).

The quote above summarises the challenges that widows and their children face after the death of their husbands particularly in developing countries and why we need to empower them.

Why support orphans'  education?

Orphans are less likely to be in school and more likely to fall behind or drop out,  compromising their abilities and prospects.

    WODF is currently raising funds to support orphans in education and health care in rural Tanzania.

Background of the organization

"The loss of a partner is devastating. For many women, that loss is magnified by a long-term struggle for basic needs, their human rights and dignity. They may be denied inheritance rights to the piece of land that they relied on for livelihood or evicted from their homes, forced into unwanted marriages or traumatizing widowhood rituals. They are stigmatized for life, shunned and shamed. And, many of these abuses go unnoticed, even normalized." UN Women, 2018.

The Widows and Orphans Development Foundation (WODF) was established in The Netherlands whereby it was officially incorporated and registered in November 2020. It is a non-profit organization that aims at contributing to address the challenges faced by indigent widows and their children.

The overall goal of WODF is to empower the disadvantaged widows and orphans socially and economically in Africa, mainly in Tanzania, particularly in rural areas so as to alleviate extreme poverty amongst them, enhance their capabilities, address socio-cultural issues that violate their human rights, and help them live a resilient and fulfilling life. The organization also implements some programs in The Netherlands aimed at enhancing the psychosocial wellbeing of widows. The main beneficiaries of WODF are widows and orphans although destitute women and children can also be targeted under exceptional circumstances.

A widow from Makete, Tanzania had this to say: “After the death of my husband, there was a meeting of my husband’s relatives and it was agreed that one of my brothers-in-law had to inherit me. They informed me that in our culture, I have to be inherited so as to preserve the genealogy of my late husband. I refused to be inherited. After telling them my decision, they grabbed almost all the property which I owned with my husband; they took the house, bed, tables, chairs, couches and some plots of land. I managed to collect only my clothes.” (Kessy et al 2010:18). 

About the founder

The founder of WODF Jamila Sulu is a lawyer, a human rights practitioner, a gender and development expert, and a mother who became a widow at the age of 38. She lived as a widow in Tanzania for seven years after which she remarried in 2019 and relocated to the Netherlands where she currently lives.

She was driven to establish this organization after experiencing first-hand the situation that widows and their children go through after the death of their husbands.

Jamila Sulu

Founder and Chairperson of WODF 


WODF envisions a society in which widows, orphans, and destitute persons achieve freedom from poverty, live in dignity, enjoy human rights and realize their full potential thereby contributing actively to personal, family, community, national and international development.


Improving the lives of widows, orphans, and destitute persons through economic and social empowerment, access to basic needs, advocating for their human rights, and undertaking sustainable solutions to build resilience amongst them.

Objectives of WODF

General objectives  

 (i) To help widows, orphans, and destitute persons achieve freedom from poverty, live in dignity, enjoy their human rights, and realize their full potential. 

(ii) To help widows, orphans, and destitute persons build economic and social resilience.

(iii) To contribute to the transformation of the lives of widows, orphans, and destitute persons for them to become vital members of society.

Specific objectives

(1) To empower widows and destitute persons economically and socially by equipping them with entrepreneurial and other (professional) skills and, where possible, providing them with necessary resources to enable them to pursue income-generating activities.

(2) To mobilize financial and material support to enable orphans living in extreme poverty and destitute children to access the basic needs such as food, clothing, water, shelter, schooling material, and other necessities to facilitate their right to education and their overall wellbeing.

(3) To conduct research and create awareness on issues affecting widows and advocate against harmful cultural practices, discrimination, and other prejudices that sustain injustice against widows.  

(4) To create awareness on human rights, gender-based violence, and promote the principle of non-discrimination to ensure inclusive society. 

(5) To advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights of widows, orphans, and destitute persons who will benefit directly or indirectly from the activities of the Foundation. 

 (6) To create platforms for peer to peer encouragement and inspiration for widows as well as for emotional, spiritual, and social support to rebuild their lives with a renewed positive perspective.

(7) To collaborate with other organizations in advocating for policy and legal reforms with a view of promoting the rights of widows and orphans. 

Want to support us reach more underprivileged widows and orphans? Kindly donate via the following:

Bank Account / IBAN: NL24 INGB 0006 3891 72
Account Name: Stichting Widows and Orphans Development

For more information about donating to us, please contact us via:
Mobile: +31644534229 (for call and whatsapp)
Landline: +31 (010) 279 94 30 (call only) 
Email: [email protected]
We will be happy to hear from you.

With your support:
√ We can retain the orphaned children in school and ensure their right to education.
√ Lift the underprivileged widows out of extreme poverty and build self-reliance to them.
√ Emancipate widows from cultural practices that violate their human rights and dignity.

Kindly support our work in empowering widows and supporting orphans'  education.  Donate easily and securely  by clicking on the donation button below.