Maitri India

Mission: Promote primary health, education and restore human rights to empower India's most vulnerable populations. Maitri defends human rights and strengthens communities through individual and community empowerment with advocacy, education, community-based program development, and networking. We work with Destitute Widows, Members of uniformed services and their families, Migrant workers and their families, Survivors of domestic violence, Underprivileged children, HIV/AIDS affected people.
Jul 16, 2014

Making their dream a reality

Maitri Ghar and Old Age Home
Maitri Ghar and Old Age Home

Dear friends,

It gives us immense pleasure to inform you that the construction of Maitri Ghar and Old Age Home is almost nearing completion.

Since June 2014, work as progressed immensely with an aim of completing the construction at our earliest so that we can soon shelter 100 abandoned widow mothers. Currently the tiling wok of the second floor is in progress while the painting of the inner walls is taking shape beautifully.  Furthermore the construction of the front porch and installation of water tanks and electric wiring is complete. Under progress is the sanitary work and plumbing related work along with the mosquito and fly proofing for all windows and doors.

Maitri would like to thank you for your relentless support in helping us come this far to realize a vision born out a burden for the plight of abandoned and destitute widows in Vrindavan. Without your contribution this dream would not soon become a reality.

As we move towards accomplishing our target in proving a permanent shelter for 100 such widow mothers may we invite you to support us on Global Giving’s Bonus day to have your donations matched by 50% starting 16th Jul y 2014 at 9am EDT to 11:59pm EST. Your support on GlobalGiving’s Bonus day would help us procure the remaining essentials  needed to make Maitri Ghar a Home so that we can move in 100 widow mothers next month.  Find inspiration to bring change to their lives in this literary piece put together on behalf of the Widows of Vrindavan.

“We are the Widows of Vrindavan.  Born into poor circumstances, we were married at very young ages.  Oftentimes our parents did not have the financial means to care for us.  Some of us had good marriages of mutual respect and love; many have faced physical and emotional abuse, loveless relationships, and the effects of substance abuse.  We have had to work hard throughout our lives to care for our children, our husbands, our homes, and even our parents.  Many times these efforts went unnoticed and we received very little in return. 

Our husbands, in various circumstances, have passed on and we have been alone for many decades, attempting to provide for our families and arrange our children’s marriages.  We are left at the mercy of our children and community.  We have encountered illness, tragedy, conflict, and death and we would like to spend our remaining days with our families and loved ones.  Sometimes this is not possible and our children do not have the means to provide for us in our old age.  Sometimes our children do not want us; they have abused us, withheld food from us, threatened our lives, and forced us to leave our homes in search of shelter, food, and security.  Society looks down upon us and denies us the respect that we should be afforded after a lifetime of sweat and tears. 

We have come to Vrindavan to find respite and an opportunity to live the remainder of our lives in religious devotion and peace.  The way has not been easy.  As frail, older women, we have had to beg on the streets for food, even when it is difficult for us to walk.  For Bhajans, we are given a single meal and a few rupees.  What little money we are able to secure is never enough to meet even our basic needs.  We ask for very little and we are grateful for any assistance in the way of food and shelter.  It is our greatest wish to complete our lives with dignity and hope.  We are the Widows of Vrindavan. “

Artwork progressing in Maitrighar., Vrindavan
Artwork progressing in Maitrighar., Vrindavan
Some of the widow mothers under Maitri
Some of the widow mothers under Maitri's care
Jun 2, 2014

More than a home.

The Old Age Home
The Old Age Home

Dear Friends, 

The last three months have precipitated much work on Maitri Ghar.  The ground floor is close to completion with completed flooring and electrical and plumbing. The clinic and kitchen are coming along on schedule and are recognizable as such.  Here are some of the changes since the last report:

• Roof of the second floor has been cast.

• Floor tiling of ground floor and first floor completed and second floor is completed.

• Brick work up to second floor is completed. 

• Window panes and mosquiting proofing has been completed and second floor is in progress.

• Bathroom fitting and plumbing work continues to progress.

• Electrical wiring of ground floor and first floor is completely done.

• Electrical wiring for second floor is in progress

Sharmati married at 16 years old. Although her husband was a kind person, his mother disliked Sharmati and constantly abused and humiliated her. Sharmati did not have any children, and because of this, endured more abuse. About 25 years after their marriage, her husband passed away due to illness. After losing her husband, Sharmati was alone with no support. With no one to turn to, Sharmati started spending her time in service at a local temple and eventually decided to come to Radhakund. She has now lived in Radhakund for roughly 10 years, where she has to beg for a living and lives in a small rented hovel. Sharmati believes that she was unable to bear children because of past karma, and that by praying to Krishna in Radhakund, she will be reborn with a better fate in her next life.

Maitri looks forward to permanently housing 100 destitute elderly widow mothers like Sharmatti at Maitri Ghar soon. The residential facility is built with the purpose of contributing to the overall well being of each widow taken in. Improving the quality of these widow mothers is an important aspect of the project.  Furthermore, it will ensure a comfortable and communal living environment. While giving these widow mothers a safe place to stay Maitri foresees empowering them through skill building programmes to ensure that they no longer resort to begging to survive. Further to this we hope to raise remaining funds to purchase 100 beds, beddings and cupboards to be able to move the widow mothers at our earliest. 

 Since 2010, Maitri has engaged with more than 500 Widow Mothers living in Vrindavan  and has committed to providing Nutrition, Health Care, Education on their Rights, and access to Citizenship Rights. Widow Mothers enrolled with Maitri’s Nutrition program receive a free, daily, mid-day meal. Furthermore, they are provided with clean drinking water and made aware of the benefits of hygienic living and encouraged to live so. Supplements are provided to address the specific geriatric needs of the Widows and they are provided with basic Health Care twice a week and facilitated with specialized medical checks periodically.

 It is a privilege for Maitri to receive your support through ongoing generous contributions that we may continue to be able to restore dignity and respect to abandoned, destitute and elderly women in India. Also, thank you to GlobalGiving for their continued support in our endeavors to make a difference.

" Never Doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; Indeed it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Meed




Mar 13, 2014

Almost there.

Dear Friends, 
We are pleased and excited by the amount of progress made to the facility, which is beginning to look more and more like a complete structure each day. Much of the floors and casting are complete and electrical and plumbing elements are in the progress of being installed. According to General Bhopinder Singh, President of Maitri, “We are very hopeful that by the 4th finish the kitchen, as well as begin the implementation of the nutrition programme.” Here are some of the changes since the last report:
• Roof of the ground floor and first floor has been cast. Second floor roofing in progress.
• Earth filling completed along with retaining walls.
• Piling, pile capping and foundation beams have been cast. 
• Brick work and plastering of ground floor is complete.
• Floor tiling of ground floor is in progress.
• Brick work of first floor is complete, and plastering is in progress. 
• Window frames of ground and first floors have been set in the walls.
• Bathroom fitting and plumbing is in progress.
• Sewage lines have been laid and connected to the main sewage system. 
• Electrical wiring of ground floor is in progress. 
• Boundary gate has been erected and boundary wall is under construction. 
• Kitchen tiling has commenced, and the slab casting for the cooking counter, sink and washing area have been completed. 
• Tubewell installation is complete.
• Maitri and REC sign boards have been affixed at prominent places. 
Several impoverished women have already approached Maitri Ghar coordinators asking to be placed on the facility’s waiting list. The projected number of women this facility can house is just over one hundred, and it will serve as a residential facility with the aim of improving the quality of life for these women, as well as help restore a sense of dignity and respect. Some of the enrichment programs will include opportunities for independent income generation as well as the creation of liaisons with state government in order to receive essential identification cards. Maitri already implements many of these programs at its current facility and hopes that the new facility will have an even broader reach; assisting even more women and touching even more lives. 
One life touched by Maitri’s work in Vrindavan is Kalli Kunda. Kalli got married at the young age of 14. Her husband used to work at a shop that made brass utensils and used to drink heavily. They had three sons and one daughter. Since their family was extremely poor, her sons worked as labourers in a hotel to somehow make ends meet. About 17 years ago, her husband passed away. After his death, Kalli's sons did not even give her food to eat, and sometimes she had to beg from her neighbours to feed herself and survive. With nobody willing to support her or take care of her, she came to Radhakund and has been here for about 12 years. Life in Radhakund is also very difficult, and Kalli barely survives by begging on the streets. "Thanks to Maitri, at least I get one square meal every day and do not have to go hungry,” she says.
Maitri currently provides a mid-day meal as well as basic healthcare and other support programs to over 500 widows in shelter homes, and hopes to scale up care and support to 2,500 widows by 2015. This facility can help Maitri realize this goal and help more women in an unfortunate and difficult situation. 
We at Maitri would like to thank all of our supporters for their generous contributions, and for helping us to further our efforts to restore dignity and respect to the destitute women of Vrindavan. We are grateful for the over $16,000 USD we have received, and appreciate Global Giving and their continued support in our future endeavours.
One of the dorms
One of the dorms
Kalli Kunda
Kalli Kunda


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