Nov 9, 2017

The power of Celebrations

Dear Maitri Friend,

Amidst struggles and survival, Maitri Ghar  once again witnessed how the power of celebrations can transcend over life and bring different colours.September was the month of festivities and celebrations. Durgashtami and Dussehra were celebrated beautifully by all the widows in Vrindavan and Radha Kund, the two ashrams supported by Maitri India. Widows are discouraged or banned from celebrating festivals which symbolizes the inauspiciousness they apparently bring to holy and happy occasions. Maitri breaks these stereotypes by making participate and lead the different festivals as a mark of making them feel a part of the joyous festivals and occasions enjoyed by the rest of the society. Navratri is 9 days long holy period of fasting which is proceeded by Dussehra, the 10th day which marks the end of evil. According to mythology, King Ravana was killed by King Rama on the 10th day symbolizing the win of good over evil. The eighth day of Navratri celebrations is called Ashtami and is considered as one of the most significant of all the days of festivities and prayers. Devotees maintain a strict fast and worship goddess Durga on this occasion, to mark the victory of the goddess over demon god Mahishasura. According to Hindu mythology, Kali Mata is said to have emerged from the forehead of Durga to kill Chan da and Munda, the demons of Mahishasura. 

The widows celebrated Durgashtami and Dussehra in both ashrams. This year like previous years, Durgashtami and Dussehra were celebrated by the widows with great fervor. They sang hymns and danced together to mark the end of Navratri. Special meals were prepared and they were distributed to the widows along with sweets to celebrate the aforementioned festivals. 66 widows in Maitri Ghar Vrindavan and 62 in Maitri Ghar Radha Kund received 6987 meals and 2924 fruits in September with your support and donations!

The month of October was very exciting. Diwali was celebrated with a lot of festivities by the beneficiary widows. The ashram was decorated with lights and flowers. The widow beneficiaries lit diyas and candles and did pooja to welcome the various Gods and Goddesses on the solemn occasion of Diwali. They all sang bhajans and were served special meals. The police superintendent gifted the widows of Maitri Ghar Vrindavan, shawls and sweets as a gesture of Diwali celebration.

 Apart from distribution of money and gifts, October has been an auspicious month with Diwali and Govardhan Puja. Diwali was celebrated with a lot of festivities by the widows. The ashram was decorated with lights and flowers. The widows lit diyas and candles and did pooja to welcome the various Gods and Goddesses on the solemn occasion of Diwali. They all sang bhajans and were served special meals. The police superintendent gifted the widows of Maitri Ghar Vrindavan with shawls and sweets as a gesture of Diwali celebration.

The Maiyyas were visited by the students of Sri Ram School, Delhi on 28th October to make them feel loved and cherished. The visit by these students really made the Maiyyas very happy. They even danced and sang with the students. Each Maiyya was gifted with a saree, soap, shampoo and a biscuit packet. The students even made drawings of Radha & Krishna and gifted them to the Maiyyas

As a mark of celebration, 63 sarees, 214 hygiene kits and Rs.4250 was distributed as gifts to the widows. The widows thanked the staff and were very happy to receive these gifts.Due to bursting firecrackers, there was a lot of smoke leading to asthma attacks to the vulnerable widows. They had regular medical check-ups to tackle various health ailments. 382 medical checkups were done in September to address their various health issues.

We want to thank everyone and extend the colors of these festivities. Your support has helped us light Maitri Ghar. Thankyou

Oct 26, 2017

When a Woman drives her way to Success and Glory

Dear Maitri friend,

Maitri wants to share a story of success that will inspire generations. Among all our benefeciaries, Maitri wants to take pride in sharing the journey of a woman as a rickshaw puller.

Driving her way; 

This case study is of 25 years old woman who is an e-rickshaw driver from Guddu garage. Maitri is happy tp share  a story of resilience and women power that reflects that when need arises, there is no job a woman can’t do. Also poverty is not only limited to a class that is illiterate, but it can also adversely affect those who are educated and were once well off.

This young   woman is married to one of our benefeciary who works a private coalfieds and earns a meagre amount. They have a son who studies in standard 4.  The couple bought an e-rickshaw on loan and lend it on rent to a person to drive. The purpose was to increase their income and support the family. But the e-rickshaw became a liability for them as it often broke down. The driver who used to run it often came with the e-rickshaw either broke down. He also did not give proper rent amount and never on time. Having faced so much of complications in renting the erickshaw, they decided to stop using the service.

Struggling to make ends meet, She decided to start driving E rickshaw. With her husband's support ,she started driving it.She has been driving e-rickshaw and takes pride in being the only women driver from this garage. She commands respect.

 “I drive daily from 11 am to 6pm in the route from Kutchehry chowk to High court. I earn around 600 INR per day.

I am happy that I made this decision”.

She was a graduate and tried for government jobs as well but could secure none. So in the face of adverse poverty, when her education also could not land her into a job, her good decision making skill and confidence (that she owes to her education only) led herto tread on an unconventioanl path and succeed. She is a shining example of women
power as well as a believer that no work is inferior.

Activities and health camp 

This month, Maitri, Ranchi, was invited to attend a daylong workshop on Basics of Complete Street organized by Institute for Transport & Development Policy (ITDP). Some other ngos like Maitri, CHSJ, Jagori, MHT, and Citizens Foundation were part of the same.

 The workshop involved presentations that discussed the accidental inaccuracy in street design wherein they explained how in designing streets there is often more accidental mistake rather than deliberate ones with examples from different cities; the basic principles of complete street design wherein the principles of street design, elements of street, different street typologies, issues and challenges .

 Such a workshop also helped our beneficiaries to be aware about what complete street is, and involved them in getting important suggestions and inputs for developing a holistic street design manual, which Jharkhand government is going to prepare.

 Apart from this,. This month Maitri organized health camps in Dhananjay Garage, Pawan Garage and Vijay garage. Health is an issue which Maitri looks at very seriously. Owing to their financial limitations and harsh working conditions most RPs and their family cannot afford proper healthcare. Our health camps are a means to bridge the gap in the healthcare system. Regular check-ups have helped the target population get treatment and bring in awareness about their health conditions

 Major cases of body ache; especially leg pain, back pain and whole body pain are seen due to the nature of their job. Due to seasonal change, majority of the Rickshaw pullers were found to be affected by fever and cold. Majority of them have problems of gastric and indigestion as well as worms were common here.

 Thank you for giviging us a platform where we can salute such stories .

We couldn’t do it without your support.

Thank you friend!

Oct 17, 2017

Battling Gender Inequality through Empowerment

We live in a country where there are instances and manifestations of violence in different forms. Creating an effective dialogue on gender is a difficult subject. Inequality and violence travels through different forms and manners. Approaching a path for reducing gender based violence consists of different steps and players. Maitri understands the position of women in our Indian society and the reasons for being oppressed are deeply interlinked with the fact that women have no resources or fewer privileges in terms of power and finances.

Amidst such nuances of gender, Maitri believes that self confidence and independence can act as effective tools in the fight towards gender equality. While working in different projects, our experiences with either Widows of Vrindavan and Radhakund, or young girls in communities have brought us this understanding that creating a space which fosters ideas of self independence and confidence actually helps in strengthening our fights against different forms of inequality and discrimination on the basis of gender.

Learning through these experiences, Maitri  has initiated a skill building empowerment project, for women and girls at Vrindavan, Radhakund and Soniya Vihar. The project focuses on providing skills and income generating opportunities. Though women and girls will be the beneficiaries of this project,there will be a special focus on empowerment of widows. We already have stitching and tailoring classes for girls and women. But converting this small step into a small time entreprenurship project will be a great step in eradicating gender based violence.

 While this initiative will have more number of gilrs, it will specially focus on working with widows as well.Maitri understands that the struggles of widows are multidimensional. Being a woman and a widow and an older person are multiple identities that each person in Vrindavan and Radhakund struggles with. In case of widowhood, a woman’s identity is defined by her husband’s, as secondary to man, the progression in society becomes one from wife to widow, with no scope to be a person of her own right. Old age is still considered as a burden, and in case of older women who have greater life expectancy but no resources; the violence faced is even higher.  Maitri believes this not only limits an individual but also violates the principles of living a life with identity, respect and dignity. And while we work towards creating gender equality, this aspect cannot be left unotouhed.

Maitri wants to thank every donor in Global Giving. Its because of your support, we have reached to a place where we can start such an initiative. You are intrumental in creating such a shift and in shaping our fight against gender based violence and  discrimination. Wish us all the best for our new initiative.

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