Widows and Orphans International was established in 1997 as a small organisation of individuals seeking to address the needs of African communities affected by HIV/AIDS in the UK and Africa. The original name of the organisation was International Widows and Orphans Welfare Society of Kenya (IWOWESOK). The members mobilised and fundraised amongst themselves to support the wellbeing of especially widows and orphans of HIV/AIDS by providing, food, health care as well as facilitating income generating activities so that the widows could support themselves. This was happening not only in the UK but also in Nyanza, Kisumu District of Kenya.
Realising that HIV/AIDS was not the only problem affecting Black Minority and Ethinic groups and that there was need for other interventions such as training and education, the group was registered as a charity in 1999 and adopted its current name Widows and Orphans International (WOI) in 2000.
WOI has since grown in terms of organisational capacity, clientele and coverage. WOI now provides; Training, Information Advice and Guidance, Health Promotion, Capacity building services in the UK.
Internationally WOI has grown and established more partnerships with whom robust programmes to support widows, orphans, street and other vulnerable children are ran in Nyanza.
WOI is an independent Diaspora led organisation which is governed by trustees who have a strong understanding of the needs of migrant communities. These trustees bring a range of skills to support the diverse needs of the organisation.
The overall vision of WOI is to provide reliable, quality advocacy and support services to disadvantaged communities especially, focusing on people affected by and living with HIV/AIDS, young people including street and working children, both in the UK and Africa
Our guiding values and principles are;
User involvement- WOI believes in involving service beneficiaries in decisions making
Innovation–Ensuring that our services are effective, efficient and responsive to the needs of our target groups
Anti-discrimination- WOI is committed to actively combating prejudice, stigma and oppression in all its forms
Independence- WOI aims to maintain its independence to promote the interests of our beneficiaries