Jiri widow gives up hope

Co-founder of the largest indigenous service for people living with disabilities, Betty Jiri, and her six children are now destitute and surviving on handouts.

Betty Jiri sees no way forward for herself and her children.
Betty Jiri sees no way forward for herself and her children.

The widow of the late Jairos Jiri is being looked after by a Good Samaritan in Mzilikazi suburb after being sidelined from the Jairos Jiri Association and evicted from herNguboyenja matrimonial home a few years ago.

Jiri said she started living the life of a pauper when her husband died in 1982. She hoped that she would be allowed to keep some of her belongings, but the court ruled against her several years ago.

“We were excluded from the association soon after the death of myhusband. He got married three times and had a total of 18 children, butit seems as if my family is the only one suffering.

“My children did not get a meaningful education and they were also denied work by the association,” she said.

However, Jiri claims that she was one who came up with the idea of helpingthe disabled, but, in the face of oppressive laws,they registered the organisationin the name of her late husband.

“The association was registered in my husband’s name in 1950 becauseof the oppressive laws of that time. The people who are now sideliningme do not even know how that association started and if I had money, I would do something better with the organisation,” she said.

With no hope of a better life for her family, Jiri has accepted that she will die a beggar and her children will suffer lack of opportunities.

“I tried moving to my rural home in Filabusi, but I could not stay as I was not used to rural life. Thankfully a woman offered me free accommodation here.”

Officials at the Jairos Jiri Association said they were only taking care of Ethel Jiri, the third wife of the lateJairos.

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