Project Title: Rightfully Mine (RIMI)
Project Coordinator: Sylvia Ruvimbo Matsika
Location: Harare, Zimbabwe
Field: Human Rights
“My siblings and I were victims of this customary practice when our mother passed away. Her relatives claimed every possession she owned without regard of her children or her husband. My father, being a calm person, did not want to drag out the issue in court and so he let them take away almost all of the furniture in our house, her cars, one of our houses and other possessions”, enounces Sylvia Ruvimbo, first-year Brandt School student.
According to Ruvimbo, “Zimbabwe’s traditional and cultural inheritance practices deprive children of their rightful inheritance when their parent(s) passes away. Although inheritance laws have evolved, a lot of children are disadvantaged because of ignorance and/or cost of legal avenues to recover their rightful inheritance.” Under Zimbabwe’s traditional and cultural law, upon the death of a married man, the man’s brother would take over his role and inherit his wife, children and possessions as well.
Although that customary practice has since been abolished and inheritance laws have been set up, there is still some residual practice of this tradition. Pushed by her personal experience and the overall situation in Zimbabwe with regards to this customary practice, Ruvimbo wants to tackle this problem by promoting inheritance laws through creating a non-profit organization called Rightfully Mine ‘’RIMI’’ that will have the mission of helping the children effected by this customary practice. “RIMI will be a non-profit legal service organization that will offer free legal advice services. Upon registration of the organization, RIMI will set up a legal team working on a pro bono basis to help victims or potential victims.
The organization will set up an office in the capital and planned regional offices with its growth to extend services across the whole country”, reports further Ruvimbo. The main objective of the project is to assist children with legal aid who face inheritance problems. Other objectives are to raise awareness on the importance of statement of wills, change of the cultural mindset and to create new norms. Among the main beneficiaries of the project are expected to be, of course, the affected children by the customary practice and the community as a whole. It will also give to the community the experience and precedence on how to fight other non-progressive practices and traditions rooted deeply in the society.