Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women

by Maitri India
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Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Old age home for 300 abandoned elderly women
Widow Mothers visit the Golden Temple,Amritsar
Widow Mothers visit the Golden Temple,Amritsar

Dear Maitri Friends,

Your love has helped more than 300 widow mothers. We had a dream to make a difference in the lives of widow mothers and 10 years now, you have made a difference. India is undergoing a demographic transition. While 8 percent of its population was recorded as 60 years and above in 2011 Census, it is expected to increase its share of elderly to 12.5 percent and 20 percent by 2026 and 2050 respectively. There is a growing pressure on all aspects of the elderly-financially, health and shelter. It becomes immensely difficult for a widow woman, more so of an ageing widow mother, with lack of resources, property rights and speculations of being weak and inferior are often at the receiving end of discrimination and violence at every stage of their life. Maitri has been working with homeless, abandoned and ageing Widow Mothers in Vrindavan and Radhakund since 2010.

You will be happy to know that on the day of International Widow’s Day, Maitri organized another group travel for Widow Mothers. Connecting people, living adventure, travelling healthily and actively, celebrating life. is what the beautiful widow mothers were engaged with on #InternationalWidowsDay.

A soulful Trip to The Golden Temple:

Amritsar, the city of gurus and the city of nectar, a new exposure for the widow mothers. The golden temple is an irresistible gurudwara, nestled at the center of a captivating water pool. Crowned with a pure golden dome, it secretes tranquility and modesty that can calm a restless heart. Maitri has organised another group travel where widow mothers have travelled from the interiors of Radhakund to Amritsar and are exploring every place. The mothers were indeed touched by the beauty and had memorable experiences. The trips are a great bonding exercise and inculcate feelings of friendship and sisterhood among the women, helping the women express themselves better adding on to the mobility.

Do you know, some of them have never travelled outside of the city since they left their homes for Radhakund? Do you know one of the mothers expressed profound joy on wearing a kurta and our staff was surprised to see how delighted she was? There are numerous other stories, which brings a smile to your face as every travel creates memories. But the most important part is the mere fact that a person who is ageing, is a widow, is a woman and has probably struggled through realities that these identities bring along with them, is experiencing new places and new memories.

Being devotes of Lord Krishna, some mothers also shared their feelings. God is one, be it Nanak or KRISHNA . The mothers have understood the essence. They call the Sarovar (pond) , samudra (ocean) and want to take a dip everyday to wash away all negativity from their lives. Travel creates memories, stories, new friendships, new food tastes and new experiences. Interestingly they enjoy the gurbani kirtan so much that they want to hear it even though they do not understand the language.

Stories Of Change

Story I: She can walk again

Mother “A”, a 81 year old mother has been staying in Maitrighar since a long time .She was very ill and was not able to move. She was bed ridden and kept under strict observation. Even doctors had given up but our staff never left hope. With routine healthcare, regular medication, daily massage and care from our in-house nurse, she is now able to walk. She walks around asking everyone about their health. With regular care and love from our compassionate staff she has not only recovered, but also gives health advice to the nurse and other mothers. She takes part in all activities and has now become a health advocate for herself and others.

Story II: Her knees have got better

Mother “B” , 60 years old was born in Bihala, Kolkata to a garage laborer. At the age of 17 she was married to a 36 year old man. After her husband’s death she faced a large number of issues but with the support of her father she was able to raise her children. In recent years however, she has not been able to receive any support from her children as they also have financial constraints resulting from extreme poverty. She has been staying at Radhakund ashram along with her widow mother. She used to have a very poor health and required assistance for her day-to-day living. Four months back she got admitted in a hospital and since recovery she faced a lot of difficulty in walking. With support and encouragement from the staff and widow mothers, she started working on herself. Her health has improved. She has learnt stitching under Maitri's skill building initiative and it has become one of her favorite tasks now. Recently, one of our staff members was blessed with a daughter and Mayiya stitched two frocks for her. This was a heartfelt moment for everyone.

There is such great satisfaction to share these moments of happiness and gratefullness.  Its only through your support we are able to make a difference.   Your gift is touching the heart of every mother 's  soul, and it is priceless. Thank you. 

Widow Mothers visit Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar
Widow Mothers visit Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar
Travel to Amritsar
Travel to Amritsar
Story I: She can walk again
Story I: She can walk again
Story II: Her knees have got better
Story II: Her knees have got better
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Widow mothers travel to Haridwar
Widow mothers travel to Haridwar

Dear Maitri friends,

Thank you for your continued support. It’s only through well-wishers like you that we are able to achieve progress in our endeavors. Widows in Maitrighar receive nutritious meals ( lunch & dinner) with health supplements, daily fruit and milk, hygienic and clean shelter with regular check up and health care through in house doctor and nurse along with facilitation for citizenship rights by availing pension, bank accounts etc.In the last quarter, International Women’s Day was observed, Holi was celebrated with Widow Mothers, local communities and well wishers followed by a community walk, two exposure trips were arranged for 80 widow mothers, expressive art therapy and counseling has been introduced. These activities have been planned and accomplished with the underlining intention of improving the emotional and mental well being of widow mothers. 

 Exposure trips: Group of Widow Mothers Travel for the first time

Vrindavan has always been the mysterious place where thousands of widows flock to live. Most of them have left home, and have been travelling in solitude, for survival, with memories they would not like to return to. This journey from grief to growth has been extraordinary and difficult, but they have created a new family in Maitrighar Old Age Home . Maitri has introduced excursions and group travels with widow mothers to provide them with opportunities of expressing themselves and enhance social bonding.  Maitri organised two trips from Vrindavan to Haridwar for two groups of 40 widow mothers. The excitement and the gratitude widow mothers had cannot be merely described through words. Most of them were finding it hard to even overcome the euphoria of their first group travel. The trips not only strengthens the spirit of sisterhood among mothers, but also helps in improving mobility and fosters active ageing. For some mothers, this first group travel has been a powerful gesture, a space to breathe, a walk to share and feel the bliss and blessing of the universe. And it has come true because of your support. 

" All my life I have felt like a burden.. a burden on my husband..a burden on my children.. this is the first time ever I feel free..Nature is beautiful..I never imagined that I will get such an opportunity..  I am thankful" - says 81 year old Widow mother with teary eyes.

 Celebrations & Community Walk

Many elderly widows live their lives feeling unloved, unseen, unrecognized, unappreciated. Because of their circumstances they are conditioned to hide their truth below a bushel of shame. Maitri celebrates Holi with Widow Mothers with flowers and petals. Maitri plays holi with different colors and flowers, to forget differences and get happiness, to celebrate our struggles, challenges and victories. Widow Mothers play with colors and greet with flowers, its a promise of being forgiving, joyful , truthful and showering all the possible love we have in us. The celebrations reflect the strength of their journey; existence and the paths lived by widow mothers. The sorrow they live with may had no way out but with regular conversations with love and compassion, they are recognizing their own strength. Celebrating the festival with the community and widow mothers is a part and parcel of our programme. After celebrating Holi with a spirit of happiness, laughter, and love , Maitri team along with Widow Mothers of Maitrighar went for a community walk. Through thin lanes and streets, this walk was a great experience in breaking down barriers and creating awareness with the local communities.

 Expressive Art Therapy Sessions

Maitri has hirred an expressive art theraphist. she first conducted a session to understand the population. On the basis of a 7 day session, she has created a module of 12 sessions: " Owning her voice, Mere Awaz Mere Pehchaan" The intention of the Project is to support the participants to calm down, feel relaxed and to let them express themselves as a fully functioning being. This is important for elderly women who are recovering from trauma or might be going through the phase of difficulty to cope with their day-to-day life challenges. The objectives of the project are To promote self-awareness focusing on three levels of awareness (Physical, emotional and mental) and to let the participants find their own way of feeling safe (breath, physical sensation, movement, drawing, sharing, etc.) using “Movement-Based Expressive Art Therapy” as a tool to open the gates of creativity. This work would act as a base to deal with past or present challenges of their current life. Additionally, Maitri also provides classes of Yoga and Reiki for widow Mothers. Maitri facilitated healing sessions and training of Reiki for teachers and widow mothers.

There is such great satisfaction seeing the sparkle come back into a widow’s eyes. Your support enables activities which can add value to their lives. Your gift is touching her heart and soul, and for her, it is priceless. Thank you. 

Widow mothers waiting for their first group travel
Widow mothers waiting for their first group travel
Widow mothers- Haridwar
Widow mothers- Haridwar
Group travel
Group travel
Group travel
Group travel
Celebration Of Holi
Celebration Of Holi
Breaking Taboos
Breaking Taboos
The glow on her face
The glow on her face
Holi
Holi
Community Walk
Community Walk
Celebration - Holi
Celebration - Holi
Expressive Art Therapy
Expressive Art Therapy
Art Therapy
Art Therapy
Art Therapy
Art Therapy
Mask and Unmasking- Therapy
Mask and Unmasking- Therapy
Group Therapy
Group Therapy
Expressive Art Therapy
Expressive Art Therapy
Expressive Art Therapy
Expressive Art Therapy
Holi
Holi
Meals
Meals
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Identity,Dignity & Respect for Widow Mothers
Identity,Dignity & Respect for Widow Mothers

 “Just as a mother at the risk of life

loves and protects her child, her only child,

so one should cultivate this boundless love

to all that live in the whole universe.”

 Dear Maitri Friends,

Your love has helped more than 300 widow mothers. We had a dream to make a difference in the lives of widow mothers and 10 years now, you have made a difference. In 2008, Maitri came across a unique and an extremely vulnerable population in Vrindavan, known as the "Widows of Vrindavan". The widows were victims of domestic violence, perpetrated by their own family members, including their sons, daughters and relatives. They were abandoned, rendered homeless and destitute to live on the streets of Vrindavan, begging for survival. It was a critical moment in the history of Maitri and formed a benchmark to work towards identity, dignity and respect for women and in this case widows. In July 2010, Maitri launched Project Jeevan (meaning, life, in Hindi), in Vrindavan, Mathura in Uttar Pradesh state of India.

 How Far We've Come – Ten Years of Identity, Respect & Dignity

 Maitri has built two old age homes for widow mothers in Vrindavan and Radhakund and has reached out to more than 300 widow mothers. Maitri provides daily nutritious meals for lunch and dinner, in addition to health supplements, fruit & milk, clothing, facilitates health heck ups and facilitates citizenship rights for Widow Mothers. Though your support cannot be measured in numbers or words, but here is a brief report of the impact it has created.

 -Improvement in Health, Nutrition and Overall wellbeing

 Malnutrition in elderly widows is both a health outcome as well as a risk factor for disease. With low socioeconomic status, social isolation, psychological impairments, there is a further reduction in the diets of elderly widows. Hence ensuring proper nutrition forms the backbone of Project Jeevan. Nutrition influences the health and functional ability. Most of the widow mothers have suffered abuse, humiliation and have lived in pitiful states and conditions that have detrimental effect on their health. In addition to lack of proper health care, the widows have also experienced loss, neglect and isolation from their families and children. Older persons are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition. With growing age and constraints, the elderly population of widows is more susceptible to diseases and they have a direct affect on their functional ability.

 -Improvement in living conditions

 The quality of living has major implications for the health of widow mothers. Unhygienic and unhealthy conditions are of particular concern. Providing proper standards is therefore a key pathway for providing healthy living conditions and improving health and well being for the widows. Most of the women have been residing in impoverished conditions, streets, small rented dirty rooms, and have undergone different shifts and changes before coming the Maitri. Most of them have been living in inhumane conditions and mostly in overcrowding rooms. Poor living conditions are associated with a wide range of health conditions, including respiratory infections, asthma, chronic conditions, and mental health. Maitri Ghar provides a clean, safe and hygienic environment and also ensures widows inculcate and practice changes in health seeking and following healthy routines. There is a drastic change in the living conditions of the beneficiaries and enables improvement in nutritional status and health of the population.

 -Improvement in mobility, Participation and Social Connectivity

 While encouraging the widow mothers to follow a balanced and healthy diet, they are also involved in different kind of activities like Yoga, morning walk, etc to help in a healthy and active ageing. With access to activities, the widows are able to form stronger bonds with those around them and experience lower feelings of isolation, loneliness and depression; their overall sense of wellbeing, self worth and belonging improves. This helps in promoting stronger social bonds, participation and solidarity among widow mothers. Maitri celebrates festivals, organizes events, which encourages participation of widow mothers. Maitri celebrates Holi with widow mothers of Vrindavan and Radhakund. The celebrations are unique as widow mothers play Holi with flowers & colours to the beat of drums dancing with joy. A unique way of putting "tilak" on the forehead adds to the festive.

 Your support is more crucial now

 We are in the process of scaling our program and reach out to 50 more widow mothers and your support is more crucial. We have also made new additions to our program, which can help in fostering emotional and mental well-being of widow mothers. Ten years now, your support has created milestones for our project. A dream doesn't become a reality through magic, it takes sweat, determination and a strong will. But a dream can turn into a miracle, when it becomes a collective effort of people who share your vision. We had a dream of restoring identity , dignity and respect of Widow Mothers. The dream has turned out to a powerful gesture, and our humble endeavour has turned to a warm old age home. Maitri is gratful for: 

 -Its rare and fortunate that we have such a compassionate staff who go about feeding, washing, bathing, cleaning and tending to the sick bedridden elderly to ensure that those who are with them can live out the last years of their lives with dignity and comfort.

- Its phenomenal to have a leadership who understands there is more to give and create. Their vision of identity, dignity and respect guided with values of compassion and inclusivity has helped create milestones of change.

-Its beautiful to have gratitude and blessings of women who have turned their struggles to victories, survival to hope and our humble endeavour to a warm home.

Its incredible to have well wishers who understand that a woman, more so a mother should never have to live a life of humiliation and abuse. We had a dream to make a difference in the lives of widow mothers and 10 years now, you have made a difference. We are in the process of reaching out to more widow mothers and your support is crucial.

For better Nutrition of Widow Mothers
For better Nutrition of Widow Mothers
For better participation and staying active
For better participation and staying active
Shower your love to these beautiful Widow Mothers
Shower your love to these beautiful Widow Mothers
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Maitri will miss you.
Maitri will miss you.

 Dear Maitri Friend, 

Thank you for your continued support to MaitriGhar, the old age home for widows in Vrindavan and Radhakund.  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. As a result of clean and hygienic Home where they live, destitute when they came, widows now have a home, for life, where they are looked after as mothers and provided with everything that they should ideally have had in their own family home, meals, clothing and healthcare.

The project has successfully uplifted and transformed lives of more than 300 widow mothers. Having all documentations and identification, helps them achieve citizenship rights. It also promotes a sense of identity and self-confidence. Most of the widow mothers have lived in harsh and vulnerable conditions, poverty and neglect throughout their lives, which has direct bearing on their health. From poor eyesight to bad stomach ulcer, diabetes to paralytic stroke, they face a range of health problems. Maitri’s timely intervention helps their health condition from deteriorating. We hope that with your support, these widow mothers will continue to rekindle their integrity, dignity and respect.

 Dignity and Respect in Death.

In this last quarter we lost two of our widow mothers. Maitri fulfills cremations and funeral rites in compliance with religious tradition and beliefs as desired by every widow mother. Their families have abandoned most widow mothers. While suffering from ill health and lack of access to health care, the real indignity faced, was dying when no one cares for you. Maitri tries the best to initiate communications with family members. It’s heartbreaking when family members or children wont even visit on death of their own mother. As caregivers, loosing a member of Maitrighar is the most heartfelt sorrow. Yet Maitri do not send her with sadness but celebrate her age, patience, tenacity, will to survive and desire to live with dignity with joy. The body is but an outer covering for the soul. The reality is the soul, which never dies, but changes form. So we know in some way the departed will always be around us. We grieve because we are deprived of a loved one; the sense of loss is profound. When our beloved one left us forever, then we have nothing to do but pray for them.

One of the deceased was born in 24 Parganas. Her father worked on the fields. She was one of two siblings, a son and a daughter. Neither of them got educated because of their poor financial situation. At the age of 15, she married a 25 year old man in North 24 Parganas. Her husband worked on the fields. When one of her sons was 22, he left home. Last month, She was critically ill and admitted in a hospital. She has been living in Maitrighar since 2014. She passed away last October because of a heart attack. Increasingly frail and weak with ageing, she was always stronger in spirit. She was a loving person and has been staying in Maitrighar since a long time. She has touched so many hearts and the pain of loosing a mother cannot be described. We at Maitri will miss her and treasure her memories. She wanted balloons when she went. And she got them.

 Health as a priority

There's nothing more important than good health - that's our principal capital asset . The health of Maiyyas as they are lovingly called, is of paramount importance in Maitri Ghar Ashram. Most widow mothers are ailing and above the age of 60. They suffer from various illnesses due to old age and neglect by family before they came to the ashram. Apart from the health camps and regular visits of the doctor, on an average 100 widows are taken to the hospital every month for various medical referrals and procedures Apollo Hospital from Delhi and Delhi Commonwealth association held a multispecialty health camp at MaitriGhar in Vrindavan for the widow mothers of Vrindavan and Radhakund to screen them for breast cancer, Gynae, dental, eye, General, orthopaedic etc. and give medicine.

 Your contribution ensures that the widow mothers live in and die with identity, dignity and respect. Thank you for being our pillar of strength! We wish you lots of love and laughter with your loved ones.

Rest in Peace
Rest in Peace
May your soul rest on peace.
May your soul rest on peace.
Dignity and Respect in Death
Dignity and Respect in Death
Health is a priority to Maitri
Health is a priority to Maitri
Multi speciality Health Camp
Multi speciality Health Camp
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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

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Maitri India

Location: New Delhi, Delhi - India
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Twitter: @Maitri NGO
Project Leader:
Maitri India
New Delhi, Delhi India
$415,002 raised of $500,000 goal
 
3,846 donations
$84,998 to go
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