Rona Foundation was founded in 2008, got registered in 2013 and began operating out of the Founder’s living room. We founded the Rona Orphans and Widows Centre in 2012 to serve the rural widows and orphans. Today we serve more than 8,000 widows and support 180 orphans per year at the perishing lakeshore villages in Siaya County. We spear-headed the outlawing ‘widow cleansing’ under Domestic Offences Bill in 2015. And developed a highly sort widows training manual based on the needs assessments which has enabled our model to be replicated in 12 counties in Kenya with various partners. Along with our creative programs we conduct awareness and advocacy campaigns locally and internationally. We do widow mentorship and life-skills training in an environment of creativity and introspection, which are critical to foster new perspectives as most rural widows are forgotten and left behind.
Moment of Obligation.
Rona’s Founder Roseline Orwa discovered unspoken inequalities and social-injustice upon the passing of her husband in 2008, as childless divorced-widow in her early-30s, in a society where a woman’s worth is measured by the number of children she births. The direct result of widowhood, the stigma, ostrascization and the reality of harmful cultural practices meted on women when they lose their husbands, woke her to not only fight for her dignity, but the rights of millions of widows in Kenya. Roseline turned her house to a safe-house for widows, and self-funded the advocacy campaign dubbed ‘stop widow abuse in Kenya’ for 8yrs to ‘stop widow abuse in Kenya’. She realized in her grieving that this single event of widowhood destroyed the family, and all the generations that followed – indeed, the event of widowhood launched a vicious cycle of poverty, depression, substance and alcohol abuse, HIV/AIDs Spread, and more deaths. She became the face of widows rights campaign in Kenya.