Widows in India live on a government pension of only $20 a month. This is barely enough to eat. To support their children and possibly send them to school the only jobs they can get are labouring jobs like moving bricks in which they get only $1.50 per day. Due to the Hindu belief system they are considered bad luck and the cause of their husband's death and therefore very rarely do they re-marry.
Because they cannot afford to rent a place of their own they are often forced to live with family. Sometimes their only option is to live with the families of their deceased husband. These families blame them for their husband’s death. They are forced to work hard for their keep and are often beaten. Sometimes their sons-/daughters-in-law convince them to give them their pensions, telling the widows that they’ll look after them. They then keep the pension and only give their mothers-in-law very little to eat and the widows go hungry.
The plight of the Widows first came to our attention when we noticed that many of the children in the Haynes Children’s Home are from widowed parents. We are so happy that we can help the children by providing adequate shelter, food, clothing and the opportunity to go to school but we realise that it is poverty that separates these families. If we can help the parents then we hope to re-unite these families.
In the area surrounding Tirupattur in Tamil Nadu, South India Pastor Alice visits as many widows as she can, praying for them and taking a little rice or food to help them. But the need is great! There are about 60 widows that attend the churches in the local area that we would initially like to help. We will then take on the task of helping the widowed parents of the children in the Home.
The elderly widows in the community are illiterate and unable to work. They are very happy with the monthly food gift.
We will however give opportunities for micro-enterprise to younger widows and parents of the children in the Home.
We've undertaken some preliminary questioning of some parents of children in the Home. Micro-businesses they're interested in are things like basket-making, incense-making and tailoring.
We are also looking into a few other small enterprises where we may be able to employ widows (ie sanitary-pad making, tailoring etc).
It has been suggested that we appoint managers/leaders of small groups of widows and would have more success by working this way in micro-enterprise opportunities.
In the future we plan to have a training institute for 10th to 12th Standard (Year Level) children who have failed their school subjects or are not willing to continue their studies at College. Here we would train them in trades like carpentry, mechanics, tailoring. We would also look at using this facility to train widows too.
We are also looking into aquaculture and vegetable gardening for self-sufficiency.
For $25 per month you can sponsor a monthly Food Gift for a local Widow.
This Food Gift includes rice, flour, dhal, sugar, soap and washing powder.
We will provide you with a photo and profile of the Widow you are sponsoring so that you can pray for her and her family and even write letters of encouragement if you so wish.
Eventually we would like to incorporate skills-development and micro-business for these women to promote self-sufficiency.
In the meantime Sponsorship is a really good way to help these widows and their families.
How to sponsor a widow…
If you would like more information or like to sponsor a widow please contact us on one of the following so we can send you an information pack and profile of one of the lovely widows in the local community…