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Aug 7, 2018

Identity,Dignity & Respect -Rights of every woman

Widows of Vrindavan- A series of short stories
Widows of Vrindavan- A series of short stories

"All my life I was made to feel like a thorn in peoples lives, I no longer want to feel like that in my old age."- says a widow mother, 62 years

 A single mother, who was a poor widow, raised her. A child bride of 13 married to 35-year-old man, who not only was alcoholic, she was also his second wife. She suffered severe domestic violence at his hands and also the stepdaughter. He became poor after he sold off his land and squandered his wealth in his drunken stupor. After her husband’s death 12 years ago, she made a choice to move out of her village to regain her identity and moved to Vrindavan to live with dignity. Confident that her last journey would be with respect and dignity, she is engaging in creating business opportunities making lentil balls (vadis) with other mothers. She is among many other widow mothers who have to lead a life of neglect and poverty and have faced abuse at the hand of family and children. Most Widows are victims of domestic violence, inflicted by their family members, including their sons and relatives and rendered homeless and destitute to live on the streets of Vrindavan, begging. Widows are subjected to multiple levels of subordination because of their identities of being a woman, a widow and ageing.

 Most widows go through feelings of isolation and abandonment and we at Maitri understand the need to address emotional and mental well being of the widows.

June marks two important days, “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day” and “International Widows’ Day” and we at Maître understand how deeply these two days are interlinked with each other. ON #InternationalWidowsDay Maitri released a series of short films capturing the journeys of widow mothers in created by Onir and Anticlock Films. “Widows of Vrindavan” brings together a series of 5 powerful stories of widow mothers and their struggles and survival as family and children left them alone. It encapsulates stories of strong women who were humiliated and abandoned by their family, children and society. 

You can watch here : 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hUvhHe0J7s&feature=youtu.be

 To be abandoned by your family and children is the most devastating experience of life stripping you of your dignity. To be misty eyed and a part of their being always hoping they will remember her and come for her is the most difficult experience. Widow mothers in Vrindavan need compassionate hearts that listen to their stories. MaitriGhar is not just a home but also a space that encourages and salutes fights and voices against abuse. Maitri believes and salutes stories of struggles. Above all, Maitri understands that these journeys are extraordinary and sharing them acknowledges the beauty of courage and plants seeds of hope. Maitri believes sharing heals half of the wounds and opens a path towards change and freedom.

 Your contribution ensures that we provide a platform and support the widow mothers in their journey of identity, dignity and respect. Thank you for being instrumental in sharing these stories of struggles and shaping journeys of victories along with the widows of Vrindavan and RadhaKund. We would like to thank you for your support. You help in providing a voice and strengthen a journey that refuses to bow down before abuse and discrimination.

In addition, your contribution also ensures that the widow mothers live in healthy and hygienic environment. They have clean rooms, clean beds, and maintain personal hygiene, which is necessary for a healthy life. With your partnership, we are enabling widows to live with idenitity, dignity and respect. We are providing them with a safe shelter, nutritious meals and health supplements. Additionally widows of MaitriGhar have started a new activity. Widows of MaitriGhar are busy making Vadis (made with soaked and grounded lentils), keeping in mind hygiene and cleanliness .You can encourage them as well as support them by buying and using them in your recipes. Maitri aims to Convert their efforts into a successful venture.

 We would like to express our gratitude to all our donors and supporters for supporting the widow mothers and Maitri. It is only with your compassion and support that we are able to reach out and bring joy and laughter in their lives. You make a difference to the lives of the widow mothers in MaitriGhar. Thank you for being our pillar of strength! Gratitude and Blessings.

Survival and Hope
Survival and Hope
Widows making Home made Vaddis
Widows making Home made Vaddis

Links:

May 29, 2018

Healthy Minds, Active Lives

Certificates- Sewing Class
Certificates- Sewing Class

Dear Maitri Friend,

This quarter has a full of exciting shifts and changes for our young minds in our after-school programme Maitrigram, which is running successfully with the help of our dedicated teachers Ms Manisha, and Ms Pooja who are present everyday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. After giving their final exams and securing good scores, children were eagerly looking forward to new classes and making new friends, with the influx of new admissions in junior classes.

 Sewing Towards a Secure Future

Vocational skills not only enhance one’s creativity, but also go a long way in increasing one’s employment opportunities. You’ll be happy to know that out of 26 girls enrolled in our sewing course, 4 have successfully completed the course and were awarded certificates by Ms. Winnie and Gr. Bhopinder on 13th April. Under the careful guidance of Mrs Shashi, these girls are learning different forms of sewing on variety of fabrics like linen, cotton, net and chiffon. Also, a lot of married women were enrolled, as they want to learn stitching become self-reliant for stitching things for their house.

Visit by Dr. Ulf Kristoffersson

On 26th March, Maitrigram saw a visit by Dr. Ulf Kristoffersson, Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Office and Chair of Maitri Board. An entertainment program was presented in his honour where children performed various art forms like classical dance on Ganesh Vandana, Welcome dance, a skit on Swachha Bharat and songs. For their sheer enthusiasm and glee, goodies were distributed to them. Also during Dr. Ulf’s visit, meritorious students from Maitrigram School ARD complex and Sonia were awarded certificates of merit and scholarships of Rs. 5,000 each.

It is your continuous support and love that has enabled us to bring a smile on the face of these kids. Thank you! Do share the project link with your friends and family and tell them why this project has your heart and what it means to you. Help us spread the word and share our mission with like-minded and passionate people.

Activities
Activities
Activites
Activites
May 10, 2018

A home for a Mother

Maitrighar- A home for widows
Maitrighar- A home for widows

Dear Maitri Friend, 

 Thank you for your continued support to Maitri Ghar, the old age home for widows in Vrindavan.  Through your act of kindness, we are able to ensure care and support for the abandoned, ageing and destitute widow mothers with shelter, food, clothing, and healthcare.With Mother’s Day around the corner, we celebrate the widow mothers who have found a better way of living life in Maitri Ghar. We hope that with your support, these widow mothers will continue to rekindle their integrity, dignity and respect.

The seasonal change from harsh winters to warm spring has brought respite to our Maiyyas who are welcoming this change and enjoying the cool spring breeze. Their daily routine continues to be the same more or less but a welcome change is the sewing course in Radha Kund, which has four enthusiastic participants. The Maiyyas go for bhajans every morning and evening. This space gives them a chance to devote their energies to their spiritual and religious development and center the peace within. These spaces are also a place for them to interact and befriend like-minded individuals. This is the time where their yearning for devotional activities is fulfilled. The widows are being provided lunch as well as dinner by our food partners namely, Akshay Patra Foundation at Vrindavan & Radha Kund. There is adequate supply of milk and fruits every day.

 Benefits

Total number of meals provided to the widows was 8890 and total number of fruits served to them was 4749 in the month of April. Widows at Vrindavan went for medical checkups on every Friday and on every Saturday at Radha
Kund. In total 7 medical checkups have been conducted at both the places, which includes doctor’s visits to the hospital. Also, 112 widows were taken to the hospital for checkup. Across Maitri Ghar in Vrindavan and Radha Kund,
158kg rice and 120kg sugar was also distributed to 243 widows. In Maitri Ghar at Vrindavan and Radha Kund 326 sarees were distributed to all the widows. Also, 120 oil bottles and 60 towels were distributed to all the widows in Maitri Ghar Vrindavan. Two widows also got their Adhaar card and two of them got their pension.

 Success story:

She was born in from North 24 Pargana district in West Bengal. She is 70 years old and had 3 daughters and 2 sons. In a devastating flood 30 years ago in the region, she lost her own mother, as well as a daughter and both her sons. However, she still had two of her daughters. After coming to Maitri Ghar, she was diagnosed with Diabetes for which she began her treatment. After a series of counseling sessions for psychological distress, She regained her faith in her individuality and is currently living a content life with her daughters. We invite Maitri supporters and well-wishers of widow mothers to visit the mothers in Vrindavan and spend time. They crave love and affection and of course, someone to talk to. The mothers have immense motherhood in them and the desire of express this unconditional love is very strong. A listening ear, a shoulder to lean on and a warm hug will last them a long time till the next one.

In addition to all of these, the widows celebrated Holi with all its glory and pride. Maitri celebrates Holi every year with widows of Vrindavan and Radha kund to add colors to their lives, dismissing traditions that forbid them. The celebrations are unique because Maitri widow mothers play Holi with petals and flowers. They decorate the Home, making rangoli  (designs made on floor with colors and flowers) and welcome everyone with a special “tilak” on the forehead.

We would like to express our sincere thankyou for every supporter who helped us built a home for her. With your partnership, we are enabling about 250 widow mothers to live with dignity and respect. You have helped us built a home for her.

Your contribution ensures that the widow mothers live in healthy and hygienic environment. They have clean rooms, clean beds, and maintain personal hygiene, which is necessary for a healthy life. Do share the project link with your friends and family and tell them why this project has your heart and what it means to you. Help us spread the word and share our mission with like-minded and passionate people. Thank you for being our pillar of strength! We wish you lots of love and laughter with your loved ones.

Regular Medical Check up
Regular Medical Check up
Nutritious meals
Nutritious meals
Celebration of Holi
Celebration of Holi
 
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