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Don’t abandon us, elderly women and men urge state


Senior citizens yesterday converged at Kibera DC Grounds to campaign for equality and an end to violence and discrimination against women.
The group was comprised mostly of elderly men and women. Through Helpage International, women aged 60 and above said they remain invisible and are usually excluded from policy and programmes aimed at stopping violence against women and girls.
The event ‘Press for Progress’ was held to mark International Women’s Day.
Rebecca Murage, 70, said the government should do more and give them free medical cover. “At our age, there is nothing much we can do to fend for ourselves. Our bodies ache, we get tired quickly and we are just like newborn babies. We need to be cared for because most of our children have abandoned us,” she said.
Charity Wairimu, 79, said the government should increase the stipend it gives to the elderly.
Helpage is a global network of non-governmental organisations helping the elderly claim their rights, challenge discrimination against them and overcome poverty.
International and Regional Policies coordinator at HelpAge International,  African Regional Office, Roseline Kihumba said violence against older women is hidden, underestimated or ignored and usually dismissed as a private matter between relatives.
She said older women living with disability, widows and those living alone are at risk of abuse. “Violence and neglect of older women does not only happen behind closed doors. It can happen on public transport, in hospitals, shops and markets. It is accepted as the norm,” she said.
In a statement, Kihumba said the government urgently needs to put in place the Social Assistance Act.
She said approval of the Act is crucial in securing the lives of rural and urban women, majority of whom are poor.