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

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

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 In a country like India, a young widow can get married and have a life of change whereas an old widow is thrown into a life of hell- one of the widows, Vrindavan.

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.Many elderly women in India lead lives of neglect and poverty. In particular, elderly widowed women are often denied even basic rights such as food, health-care and are thrown out of their homes by their families. Maitrighar aims to provide a safe home for abandoned widows. 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.

 Maitri ghar 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.

 For instance, one of the widows, living with us since June 2014, speaks about her experiences and journeys with a touch of hope and spirit of survival. “My husband was old and he got frail and sick and eventually died. My first husband sold me off to a man with six kids along with my daughter for Rs. 20,000 After five years, he came to take me back, but people around me started shaming me and the second man to whom I was sold married me. My second husband took good care of me when he was alive. He gave me a dignified life and a name in society. However, after his death, his children and my only daughter started beating and abusing me, threatened me with dire consequences, and forced me to sign property papers. I used to cry, but the children were not moved by my plight. They wanted me to move out of the house. It felt terrible, because life changed at the drop of a hat. The position and respect that was given to me was snatched away from me and I was stricken with all kinds of grief.”

 She speaks as she raises some important questions about respect, identity and pain. “Words cannot explain the grief that I have experienced. My heartbreaks when I think of that pain, nobody can understand what I have gone through. I cry thinking about how my own children treated me. I was old, frail and illiterate. I used to pray to God that some angel would come from somewhere and take me away from this pain.In a country like India, a young widow can get married and have a life of change whereas an old widow is thrown into a life of hell.”

 For her, Maitri is a home. “Maître has helped me overcome all the pain. I never feel lonely or alone here, and the environment here gives me solace and makes me remember my childhood days." Maître wants to rather thankyou , because your support has helped us provide such a home and has brought attention to such stories of struggles and victories.

 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 about 55 widows are in Radhakund’s Maitri Ghar and 66 widows are in Vrindavan Maitri Gharto live with dignity and respect. We also have 3 non-resident widows at Radha Kund who come for Lunch and Milk distribution. 7185 meals and 2266 fruits were served to the widows..In the month of July, 365 widows from Vrindavan and Radha Kund were taken to the hospital for checkup and medications. 6 Health camps have beenorganized.

 Thank you for being our pillar of strength! Thank you for being instrumental in sharing these stories of struggles and shaping journeys of victories along with the widows of Vrindavan and RadhaKund.

Health checkup at Maitrighar
Health checkup at Maitrighar
Health checkup at Maitrighar
Health checkup at Maitrighar
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Widow Mother rejoicing on Holi..!
Widow Mother rejoicing on Holi..!

Dear Maitri Friend,

We would like to acknowledge your support at the outset. You make a difference to the lives of the elderly and abandoned widow mothers, Maitri is with.

We would like to give you an update of the latest from Maitri Ghar – Old Age Home,  “Ashram” to house destitute and abandoned widows of Vrindavan.

March brought colours and laughter in the lives of the widows. They are forced to wear white as a mark of their widowhood, which reminds them constantly of their loss in life. Holi (a festival of colours) was celebrated with joyful fervour in Vrindavan. Traditionally, widows were excluded from this festivity. However, Maitri widow mothers broke this tradition 5 years ago and have been celebrating with flowers, colours, dance and song ever since. The widow mothers look forward to Holi celebrations all year. They decorate the Home, making rangoli  (designs made on floor with colours and flowers) to welcome guests who come to play Holi with them. They shower flower petals and colours on each other, sing and dance with abundance. Maitri’s founders General Bhopinder Singh and Winnie Singh travelled to Vrindavan with the entire Delhi office team to play Holi with the widow mothers.  Maitri supporters from Vrindavan and other places joined in making it a happy family for the mothers. Widow mothers were  gifted sarees on the occasion. You would be happy to know, we have succeeded in the widows accepting some colour on their sarees, instead of pure white which they always wore. A special meal was served to the widow mothers by Maitri family and the guests and joined them for lunch too.. Some of the widow mothers got dressed in costumes symbolising Lord Krishna and his consort Radha were happy in celebrating the festival with song, dance and colours. To the beat of drums they sang Bhajans (hymns in praise of Krishna) and danced with joy and abundance to express their happiness and gratitude.

In the past quarter, with your support, Maitri has provided more than 350 sarees to the residents and non-resident widows of Maitri Ghar in Vrindavan and Radhakund. 35 widows have received pensions under the Widow’s Pension Scheme with the State Government. Though the monthly pension amount is only Rs.300,which is about $4 it is a matter of pride that they are able to access their citizenship rights and claim what is their right from the Govt. indicating they are part of the financial inclusion of the government with a bank account. It gives them an identity.

You will be happy to know that the widow mothers are being provided with nutritious evening meals at both MaitriGhar Vrindavan and Radha Kund. It has been made possible only with YOUR support . So today they have the benefit of being served Mid-Day meals, Milk and Fruits and nutritional supplements.. The bi-weekly health checks take place with all the widow mothers receiving medicines incase of any ailment. And those in need of hospital attention or hospitalisation are taken to the hospital for treatment.

We are delighted to share with  you that Maitri has initiated an empowerment centre, with skill building and income generation objective. Initially only 10 sewing machines have been installed at Maitri Ghar at Vrindavan and Radhakund each.  Professional teachers have been hired to provide training for sustainable livelihood to widow mothers and girls from financially challenged families in Vrindavan and Radhakund. This has been done to facilitate acceptance of the mothers in the general society, keeping untouchability and ostracisation at bay. Thereby mainstreaming the widows. The beneficiaries will learn tailoring skills ensuring that they will be productive and generate income for themselves increasing their self worth. This will ensure that they are taken away from begging and live a life of dignity and respect. Gaining financial independence will also contribute to the ability to make right choices and decisions and lead a healthier life.

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. Gratitude and Blessings.

Holi Celebrations at Maitri Ghar
Holi Celebrations at Maitri Ghar
Milk distribution at Maitri Ghar
Milk distribution at Maitri Ghar
Evening Meals being served at Maitri Ghar
Evening Meals being served at Maitri Ghar
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Kapuri hopes to get well soon
Kapuri hopes to get well soon

Dear Maitri Friend,

Maitri's second home for ‘elderly destitute widows’ is now fully functional in Radhakund, Vrindavan. It provides a comfortable safe space to the widows who were abandoned by their families and have had to live in destitution taking away their identity and dignity.

In 2015, MaitriGhar translated as 'Home where you can live in dignity and with love', had a soft launch with 45 widows making it their home. With your generous support and donations from friends of Maitri – we have been able to construct two more floors and it now houses 75 widows, with space for another 25 widow mothers. 

We ran short of resources in buying beds, mattresses, bed linen and almirahs etc. As soon as we have the funds for the same, we will be able to accommodate the 25 who are eagerly waiting to call it home. We would like you to know that apart from the 75 widows living in the home, there are additional 75 widows who benefit from the program and get their mid day meal, milk, fruits, clothes, medical care and access to citizenship rights such as widows pension, UID card, Voter card, ration card etc.

We take pleasure in informing you that, we are now ready to start the skill building and income generation program in March 2017. MaitriGhar in Vrindavan and Radhakund will start a small-scale business in making cloth bags, employing 80 widows to start with, which will be sold in the local market as well as in Delhi. Some boutique owners have expressed interest in supporting the program by placing orders as soon as we are able to procure 50 machines and fabric for six months. We visualize the program being sustainable by employing the widows living in and out of MaitriGhar, while it will give them dignity of labor, the profits will help it move to a higher level. We look for your support in buying stitching machines and fabric.

An important feature of the Maitri’s Old Age Homes for the widows is that Maitri has been successful in installing solar panels ensuring regular supply of electricity 24x7x365 days. Both the homes will be able to generate enough electricity to service the needs of the residents of each home and yet have surplus energy. This is our effort towards clean sustainable energy.

In the last quart, r 24 widow mothers had to be taken to the hospital for treatment nearly 70 times for various health issues. Hypertension, general weakness, low blood pressure, diabetes, and stomachache are some of the health issues the widows complain about. The resident nurse has been providing nursing care at Home to three widows who are bedridden. 

We feel happy to let you know, the widows physical health is in good condition and that despite being 24 hour bedridden, they are living in extremely hygienic condition with no ulcers or sores and clean diapers.

One of the resident widows at MaitriGhar, Vrindavan, Kapuri, has been bed ridden for sometime. She suffers from general body ache, weakness. We have been able to keep her comfortable and in good health and spirits because a fully equipped medical bed was donated by one of Maitri compassionate donors. With good care and diet provided to her, we are sure she should recover her health soon enough.

40 additional widows have been able toget access to Widow’s Pension for the first time, with the support of Maitri. It is Maitri's objective to ensure each widow has access to her rights and gets voter card, below poverty line card, widows pension etc.In the recent state assembly election the widow mothers cast their votes for the first time since they got voter cards now. They were proud to exercise their rightto vote as it has established their identity.

Please know that your support goes a long way in uplifting the destitute widows of Vrindavan and giving them a chance to live with identity, dignity and respect. NOW they are no longer destitute. We look forward to your continued support. Lets keep working together to bring dignity in their lives!

Thank you! 

The second MaitriGhar in Radha Kund, Vrindavan
The second MaitriGhar in Radha Kund, Vrindavan
Solar panels are being installed in second Home
Solar panels are being installed in second Home
Founder of Maitri visiting widow mothers
Founder of Maitri visiting widow mothers
Widow mothers voted in the state assembly election
Widow mothers voted in the state assembly election
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I will live and die in MaitriGhar - says Shanti
I will live and die in MaitriGhar - says Shanti

Dear Maitri Friend,

What a wonderful year we have had so far at MaitriGhar! It is our desire to bring lonely and destitute widows into a safe home with all the basic amenities that will make their stay comfortable.

For instance, eighty-year-old Shanti, a widow mother has been living with us since May 2015. Although she had been living in Vrindavan over four years. “At MaitriGhar I like the fact that I am free to go out to visit temples whenever I want and I can cook my own meals whenever I feel like cooking” she says. 

Shanti had to come to Vrindavan after her son and daughter-in-law denied her food and a place to stay. Married at the age of 15, her husband used to be very violent towards her. They didn’t have their own children so they adopted a son and raised him and got him educated.

After Shanti’s husband passed away, she lived with her son and daughter-in-law. When they turned abusive, she came to Vrindavan like so many widows who travel here to spend the remaining years of their lives in Ashrams, temples and survive on begging.

Thankfully, Shanti found Maitri Ghar. “I won’t ever return to my hometown. I have everything I need. I wish to live and die at MaitriGhar”, says Shanti.

With your partnership, we are enabling about 250 widow mothers to live with dignity and respect. We also welcomed 35 new elderly and widow mothers in both the Homes. Once cared and empowered, 19 widows returned to their respective hometowns.

You made possible for widow mothers to:

  • Have nourishing meals everyday
  • Daily milk and fresh fruits
  • Weekly health check ups
  • In-house nurse for aftercare
  • Access Identity Cards necessary for accessing state benefits
  • Connect to banking facility with zero balance
  • Access widow’s pension scheme provided by the state
  • Enough warm clothing to face cold and damp season ahead
  • New sets of sarees and other essentials.

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.

Right now we are excited and looking forward to raising more support on Giving Tuesday. The Bill and Melinda Foundation will match half the funds we raise. We hope that you will consider sharing our project with your friends and family – through email, social media, or conversation.

Also, we are entering the year-end fundraising campaign on Global Giving which means extra bonus and prizes for our project. If you have donated to our project before but have not chosen the monthly option, December is a good time to start. Global Giving is matching new recurring donations to our project.

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 a great holiday season and lots of love and laughter with your loved ones.

meal time for resident and non resident widows
meal time for resident and non resident widows
At Radha Kund Home widows assemble for devotion
At Radha Kund Home widows assemble for devotion
Women get weekly health check ups
Women get weekly health check ups
Nirmala, collecting the daily supply of milk
Nirmala, collecting the daily supply of milk
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Organization Information

Maitri India

Location: New Delhi, Delhi - India
Website:
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Twitter: @Maitri NGO
Project Leader:
Maitri India
New Delhi, Delhi India
$454,180 raised of $500,000 goal
 
4,350 donations
$45,820 to go
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