Elderly Women Push for Special Social Protection Fund

Mafunga Mafunga - pic by Christopher Sande

Some elderly women have begged president Lazarus Chakwera’s government to establish a special social protection fund amid various challenges affecting the lives of the elderly in the country.

Speaking during the Grandmothers' conference in Blantyre on Thursday, a 73-year-old woman, Margret Mafunga from Ndamera area in Nsanje and Rose Filipo, 72 from Kabudula area in Lilongwe said Government and development partners need to come up with sustainable measures to support them.

Mafunga complained that it is pathetic that authorities continue to sideline them in social protection programs despite being hit hard by the recent back to back cyclones.

“The climate change is affecting us negatively. sadly, energetic people including young women are the one being put on social cash transfers leaving some of us complaining.

"I think authorities should do something to support me considering that I look after my grandchildren whose parents died of HIV/Aids and other diseases,” said Mafunga who seemed so worried as she is also having difficulties walking due to old age.

Another elderly woman, Filipo, asked the government to come up with a special fund for them to have adequate financial assistance for survival.

“We no longer have that strength to do things as before. We are lacking a lot of things in our lives including food and good shelter, so we need the government's support,” said Filipo.

The sentiments come when the majority of the elderly in Malawi have been complaining of being accused of witchcraft, discrimination, physical attacks, murder, sidelined in the social protection programs among others.

Nsanje Programs Manager for Friends of Aids Support Trust, Mweta Katemba said they will continue to support the elderly and orphans in order to improve their living standards.

“This is an International gathering of grandmothers across Africa. So, the objective is to bring grandmothers together, celebrate the contributions they have made in reducing HIV/Aids in Malawi and other countries.

“We also wanted to promote oneness among grandmothers for them to share experiences and possible solutions,” said Katemba.

He further stated that the grandmothers' conference was also a platform for the elderly women to have an interface with policy makers to express the challenges that they are experiencing in the country.

On Thursday, several African Countries including Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Uganda held grandmothers’ conferences to generate solutions to uplift the living standards of the elderly.

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