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
Drying the products the made during training
Drying the products the made during training

In the last few months, Maitri has continued to provide a better quality of life for over 100 resident widows and additional 100 widows from the neighbouring areas. Because of your love and support the widows in Maitri’s care have stayed warm and healthy this winter. In November and December 2015, Maitri distributed sandals to 99 widows in need, blankets to 227, shawl to 137, winter caps to 68 and sweaters to 119 widows living in Maitri’s Old Age Homes and those who are from neighbouring areas.

Beyond creating happy and healthy homes for the widows, YOUR kind support has also made it possible to teach them livelihood skills, so that they can empower themselves.

In December 2015, Maitri conducted a skill-building programme in Vrindavan Maitri Ghar, at Vrindavan with the help of two trainers from the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Rural Industrialization (MGIRI). 24 women from Vrindvan and Radha Kund Old Age Homes were trained to make agarbatti, dhup batti, mosquito coils, tooth powder, and other materials using natural and organic raw materials. The skills learned in this workshop will be invaluable for the empowerment and livelihoods of widows. These products are organic and harmless to the health of the widows. The widow mothers are very excited and have started making the products. Maitri is working towards setting up a small production unit and find market to supply these products. Once the widows gain confidence in making quality products they could earn Rs1500-2000 a month.

Besides the livelihood initiative, the construction of Old Age Home in Radha Kund progressing well. Construction of the kitchen and flooring has already been completed, with washbasins and counters installed. Sanitary fittings in seven first floor bathrooms are nearing completion. We have given purchase order of furniture and are now in the process of screening the widows to be welcomes as residents, priority is being given to the most needy. We look forward to welcoming about 45 more widows to our newly constructed floor in the home in next one or two months. We couldn’t imagine of expanding our services without your generous donations. Together, we are able to provide them a home and other life essentials like meals, fruits, milk, clothing and healthcare. You are helping Maitri bring destitute widows from a place of despair to a place of hope and dignity.

Mala is one of the widows whose life has changed forever because of your ongoing support.

Mala, 54, is one of the widow mothers cared for in Maitri Ghar. “My husband was alcoholic and abusive. He worked as a Rickshaw Puller and barely managed to provide for the family. After his death, I had to work very hard to raise my three daughters.” Once they got married, Mala felt isolated and lonely. With no one to support her and care for her she was insecure about her well-being and travelled to Vrindavan hopefully to find spiritual peace but in trying to survive she neither felt safe nor was able to pray. "I was on the streets of Vrindavan when Maitri found me and took me under their wings and are my family and home today." For last one year Mala has been living in Maitri Ghar. “In Maitri Ghar, for the first time in my life I feel secure, at peace and happy”, she says.  She came to Maitri Ghar with nothing, but is now happy in her new home. With the skills she has learned through Maitri’s skill building programme, she once again has a chance to make a respectable livelihood for herself.

Women carefully watch and learn during training
Women carefully watch and learn during training
Incense and mosquito coils made by widows
Incense and mosquito coils made by widows
Mala, one of the resident widows
Mala, one of the resident widows
Resident Widows at Radha Kund Old Age Home
Resident Widows at Radha Kund Old Age Home
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Inside Maitri Ghar in Vrindavan
Inside Maitri Ghar in Vrindavan

Through the tremendous generosity of yours, Maitri is well on its way to scaling up the type of services provided to ensure dignity of 100 widows and ultimately end their plight.

In India the status of widows in the family, community and society at large is that of destitution, ostracisation and marginalization. Widows face legal, religious, cultural and traditional constraints including barriers to inheritance, land ownership, remarriage and acceptance in community and society. They are deprived of their basic rights of identity, finances and right to live in their own home but there is also discrimination against them for livelihood opportunities.

Since the inception of our programme to promote identity, respect and dignity for the widows and empowering them with information and education about their citizenship rights etc, we have recognized their frustration with their status. At the same time, we realise they have resigned themselves to their fate and have been unfortunately accepting humiliation as part of their destiny.  Maitri has been empowering them with empowerment and giving them information about their rights which they can claim from their families and the Government. While Maitri ensures their wellbeing with nutrition, supplements, milk, fruits, clothing and healthcare, we ensure they learn skills to regain their identity, respect and dignity.

Oppression of widows is an extreme form of women’s oppression. Women account for the majority of the poor, and widows are the poorest of women… - Widows Without Rights

Your generous support has enabled Maitri to continue caring for abandoned and destitute widows in Vrindavan in a big way. Check out how funds collected this quarter have been utilized:

Maitri has managed to complete major construction of the 1st floor of the second old age home that is located in Radha Kund (Mathura, India). This includes complete electricity provision and water supply.  Currently, white washing of walls, flooring and tile work is underway. Completion of the 1st floor will allow for 35 more widows to be sheltered.

As part of our main activities, Maitri continues to provide daily mid day meals to all resident widows and other widows living in the neighbourhood and in need. Health check ups have been done once each month for the last 3 months to ensure the well being of all widows in our care. One of the major outcomes of the project has been enabling the widows to stop begging because their everyday needs are now taken care of within a safe and comfortable living environment.

India is currently in the midst of its festive season and towards this revere Maitri celebrated “Janmashatami” and “Radhashtami” with the widows at Maitri Ghar. Widows, culturally and customarily are not allowed to partake in festivities, BUT the widows under Maitri's care have had the opportunity to celebrate with great joy with the community and in Maitri Ghar, their home. On 12th November 2015 our widows will celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights, by lighting Maitri Ghar with earthen lamps, bringing light into their lives too, discarding the dark which they had been living in.

Moving forward Maitri is engaging in self-empowerment projects for widows. Engaging widows in activities of the like would contribute to their economic wellbeing and dignity while giving them opportunity to pray and sing hymns in praise of God.

Surrounded by people who love and care, seventy seven-year-old Kalli cherished her husband’s companionship from the age of fourteen as she was married at a very young age. Her husband died about seventeen years ago. Kalli felt rejected, dejected and  lonely. Things turned bad to worse for Kalli after her husband passed away. Her sons didn’t give her food to eat and many times, she was forced to beg for food from the neighbors. With nobody willing to support her or take care of her, she came to Radha Kund and has been here for about twelve years.( Radha Kund is a small town in Uttar Pradesh, India known as a holy place) Widows come in pursuit of peace and to sing hymns in praise of Krishna. Abandoned by her own children, she wandered the streets of Radhakund begging for survival, making a mere Rs.5-10 a day. She rented a small room with no electricity and lived on the generosity of the temple.

Since January 205, Kalli has been cared for by Maitri, where she recieves mid-day-meals provided by Maitri Ghar, a safe home for abandoned and destitute widows in Radha kund. Maitri also provides her regular health check ups nd essential items like soap, shampoo, blankets and saris.

At first, Kalli spoke reluctantly and was shy. She interacted little with the project team or other widows in Maitri Ghar but now that trust building has taken place with the Maitri staff , Recognising that she was part of the Maitri family, she requested for , a-liter of milk, advised by the doctor which she takes and consumes everyday when she comes for mid-day-meal. Now she loves to stay back after lunch, sing hymns with other widows, and even take a nap in Maitri Ghar before heading to her rented room. Maitri Ghar will soon be a home for her, as soon as the construction etc is over

"Thanks to Maitri, at least I get one square meal everyday and never have to go to sleep on a  hungry stomach", she says.

Now, Kalli doesn’t feel lonely as she has  found friends in other widows, who are now her new family. She can always turn to our team whenever in need without feeling obligated. In Maitri Ghar, the warmth of family and friends surround her. Though she speaks very little, her ease and comfort in being a part of Maitri Ghar shows the freedom and acceptance she has experienced.

The Little by Little match funding campaign on GlobalGiving.co.uk is on until the 2nd of November. We invite you to have any donation of yours up to 50 Pounds matched at 50%. 

Once again, thank you for your invaluable support. Without generous donors like you, none of this would be possible. If you are ever in India, Maitri welcomes you to visit our widows in Maitri Ghar and see the difference YOU have made.

 

The view of Maitri Ghar at sunset
The view of Maitri Ghar at sunset
Widows in praise and devotion to God
Widows in praise and devotion to God
Solar panels at Maitri Ghar
Solar panels at Maitri Ghar
Widows at Maitri Ghar in Radha Kund
Widows at Maitri Ghar in Radha Kund
One of the resident widows at Maitri Ghar
One of the resident widows at Maitri Ghar
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Dormitory in Maitri's 2nd old age home
Dormitory in Maitri's 2nd old age home

"Widows in India no longer throw themselves on the funeral pyres of their husbands. But life for them can still be hard. " - Anthony Denselow, BBC News

Thousands of widows continue to make their way to Vrindavan in north of India. Discarded and abandoned by their families, they lead a life of destitution and humiliation miles away from their home.

Maitri India with support from your donations to the Old Age Home for 100 abandoned elderly women is working to provide respect and dignity to widows by taking care of their wellbeing as they live the sunset years of their life in Vrindavan .More than 100 widows in Vrindavan are being permanently sheltered at Maitri Ghar in 2 co-located old age homes. Efforts to complete construction of the second shelter is underway and the roof of the 1st floor currently in place.

  • All widows are being provided with a daily mid day meal, nutritional supplements, biscuits tea and fruit as part of our nutritional programme
  • Further more, cotton saris have been distributed as comfortable Indian apparel to brace the summer heat. In addition, cans of talcum powder have also been given to each widow to keep themselves cool 
  • Maitri collaborated with Shroff Eye Centre to hold an eye camp for widows. The camp provided eye check ups for all widows and necessary general treatment
  • Maitri has been able to open 15 zero balance bank accounts for widows so they may accumulate savings, and 13 Universal Identification cards have been distributed respectively. More over, we continue to help widows understand their rights and raise awareness of their government benefits
  • Maitri has facilitated our 2nd old age home with a fridge and water cooler
  • Maitri is ensuring the development of an Ageing Resource Centre within the existing old age home. This centre will serve as a training and education hub for geriatric care. We are also networking with other institutions in order to better equip Maitri in this aspect
  • As the monsoon season began in Vrindavan, the solar system installed in one of our old age homes was destroyed. Maitri has recently been able to replace this system which helps in ensuring stable electric supply at Maitr Ghar.

Maitri is happy to inform you that we completed 10 years of serving abandoned and destitute widows in Vrindavan on the 4th of July 2015. More over, It has been a joy to see that the widows enrolled with us no longer have a need to beg in order to sustain themselves. In addition, their safety and health has greatly improved and they now live with dignity and respect.

Moving forward, Maitri is working towards a widows economic empowerment programme that can provide them with dignified earning opportunities. Your committed generosity and support is making sure that sustainable help reaches widows in need and IS making a world of a difference in their lives. Thank you!

Sarla got married at the age of 14 to Chunni, a 40 year old man. He was extremely agressive in nature and was an alcoholic as well. Under the inflence, Chunni was often violent towards Sarla even after the birth of their only daughter. Due to the domestic violence she was suffering Sarla left her husband with her daughter a year later. She came to Alwar and started working in a shop as a helper. Unfornately a few months after she left, her husband found her wherabouts and took their daughter along with Rs 10,000 from the shop. Later, after working for three years at the shop Sarla married the shopkeeper who was a father of 1 son and 3 daughters. He was very good to to her and treated her well. Out of his love for her, he bought a house in Sarla's name. To Sarla's surprise, a few years later, her daughter came back and convinced her to go and be with her in Jaipur. Being her only daughter, Sarla decided to go. How ever, in Jairpur Sarla’s daughter took all her money and threw her out onto the streets. After this humilating incident, Sarla had no choice but to return back to her hometown. On returning, she fell sick and to make matters worse, her step daughter made her sell the house to pay for her treatment. Now, Sarla was left with no place to stay, nor did she have her husband later as he had passed away. On the death of her husband, the step children refused to allow her to stay with them. A well wisher, fortunately introduced her to Maitri a few months back. She now lives here and feels secure and happy at heart. 

Lastly, Maitri is pleased to inform you that 2 of our photos from this project has been selected as a finalist in GlobalGiving's 2015 Photo Contest! Voting will begin at 12pm EDT on August 3rd and end at 12pm EDT on August 7th.  During this time, we urge you to vote for our leading photo so that Maitri can win a $1,000 prize and the opportunity to be featured in social media promotions. You can vote here.  Please share the link with family and friends so that we can gain as much support as possible. All funds won will go towards the old age home for 100 elderly widows.

Daily mid day meal distribution
Daily mid day meal distribution
Resident widow at Maitri Ghar in Vrindavan
Resident widow at Maitri Ghar in Vrindavan
Eye camp
Eye camp
Thank you from every widow you have supported
Thank you from every widow you have supported

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Widows in warm embrace at Maitri Ghar
Widows in warm embrace at Maitri Ghar

Sarla got married at the age of 14 to Sharma, a 40 year old man. He was extremely agressive in nature and was an alcoholic as well. Under the inflence, Sharma was often violent towards Sarla, even after the birth of their only daughter. Due to the domestic violence she was suffering Sarla left her husband with her daughter a year later and started working in a shop as a helper. Unfornately a few months after she left, her husband found her wherabouts and took their daughter along with Rs 10,000 from the shop. After working for three years at the shop, Sarla remarried; he was a father of 1 son and 3 daughters. Out of his love for her, Sarla's husband bought a house in her name. To Sarla's surprise, a few years later, her daughter came back and convinced her to go and be with her in Jaipur. Being her only daughter, Sarla decided to go. How ever, in Jaipur Sarla’s daughter took all her money and threw her out onto the streets. After this humilating incident, Sarla returned to her house. On coming back, she fell sick and to make matters worse, her step daughter made her sell the house to pay for her own treatment. Now, Sarla was left with no place to stay, nor did she have her husband later as he had passed away. With their father gone, the step children refused to allow her to stay with them. In the midst of her struggle, a well wisher fortunately introduced her to Maitri. She now lives at our Old Age Home secure and happy at heart. 

Across India, thousands of widows are living a life of misery, loneliness and poverty. How ever, with the continued support of generous donors like you, Maitri has been able to alleviate some of their pain.

In 2010, Maitri began making efforts for the welfare of destitute widows through daily mid day meals. Today, we have the privilege of having constructed two old age homes and take care of 100 widows living there. The money raised especially through you, has helped us expand activities, sustain this project and get more widows the care and love they deserve.

As a contributor you would be glad to know that with funds you have donated, the construction of the ground floor along with a courtyard of our second Old Age Home is complete. In addition, a refrigerator, water cooler, light bulbs, and ceiling fans have been fitted. Further more, 50 beds, mattresses, pillows, sheets and cupboards have been procured and installed. This achievement is noteworthy as it enabled us to already move in 45 widows as residents. On 5th of May 2015, Maitri officially inaugurated this housing facility and in commemoration widows received a special mid day meal and celebrated with song and dance.

Currently, 68 women reside in Maitri Ghar, Vrindavan while others to be sheltered are in process of being screened. The resident widows are being provided 200g of milk, 2 slices of bread and a cup of tea every day in addition to their daily mid day meals. A recent collaboration with the RK Mission Hospital has made ensured that a doctor makes regular visits to the Home.

To protect the residents of both the Old Age Homes from disease brought in from mosquitos and flies, we have installed wire meshing on all windows and other openings.  

Widows reside at both Maitri Ghars in much comfort and peace, yet many of them still miss the company of their families and loved ones. In fact, while many of us proudly celebrated the mothers in our lives this Mothers Day, these women carry the crushing weight of being rejected by their families. 

In light of this occasion, celebrating mothers and motherhood, Maitri would like to invite you to honour widows in our care. Their needs are pretty simple and all they require is hygienic living, a square meal a day and some basic necessities. On May 13th, GlobalGiving is matching EVERY eligible donation on our Bonus Day! In the first-ever Pro-Rated Bonus Day, the matching percentage will be decided at the end of the day based on this formula: ($75,000/Total Amount Raised) x 100 = Matching Percentage

There is such great satisfaction seeing the sparkle come back into a widow’s eyes. Your gift is touching her heart and soul, and for her, it is priceless.

Special mid day meal served at Maitri Ghar - 2
Special mid day meal served at Maitri Ghar - 2
Celebrating having a home away from home
Celebrating having a home away from home
A widow smiles as she gets fruit after her meal
A widow smiles as she gets fruit after her meal
A look at one of the dorms at Maitri Ghar - 2
A look at one of the dorms at Maitri Ghar - 2
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Dear Maitri friend, 

It turned out to be a different and memorable Friday,  the 4th of March 2015 for hundreds of widows at Maitri's Old Age Home as their white attire was smeared in different hues when they played Holi - a Hindu festival of colours. 

Ostracized by society, abandoned and rejected by their own family after the death of their husband they are forced to wear white clad saris, with no colour on their physical being. Breaking a centuries-old tradition that prohibited Hindu widows from any and everything that had to do with festivity, hundreds of them from Radha Kund and Vrindavan enjoyed the festival of colours with the Maitri family and friends.

This year 100 widow mothers joined in the celebration at Maitri Ghar and Ageing Resource Centre, feeling acknowledged by the community as women and individuals who are looked upon with dignity and respect. The event, with the presence of many well wishers brought cheer and joy, with a rainbow of colours and flowers to every widow mother present. Dancing with joy to the beat of the drums, they laughed, hugged and celebrated their being; their womanhood.

Being part of and witnessing the breaking of this ongoing taboo where merry making was out of bounds for the widows was a very satisfying and heartening experience for Maitri. 

To mark the celebration Maitri also distributed a special mid day meal to all widows present, along with a sari, toothpaste, bathing soap, Rs 10 and hair oil. 

Thank you for contributing to Maitri's Old Age Home and in turn enabling the women living here to celebrate a festival, breaking away from years of social stigma prevalent in society. Maitri is indeed encouragued by the positive changes seen in the widow mothers who have moved in to the old age home. This is in turn has motivated us to construct another home in a co location for 100 other widows in a village called RadhaKund, Mathura. 

As we go forward, Maitri would like to further intensify our engagement with issues associated with abandoned and destitute widow mothers. We believe, together with you, we have the potential to offer sustainable services to elderly women in need.

Anjali was a resident of West Bengal. She got married at the age of 22. Her husband belonged to an affluent family so he never found reason to get a job. Anjali's husband treated her well and they had only one son together. However, he died after his first few years. Later in life Anjali's husband passed away as well and so she went to her mother's house for shelter. To her dismay she did not feel welcomed but felt she was a burden to her family. Soon, Anjali made her way to Vrindavan in search of peace and refuge. She now lives in MaitriGhar along with other widow mothers like her. 

Special mid day meal served to widows for Holi
Special mid day meal served to widows for Holi
Jubilation of endurance
Jubilation of endurance
Thank you for your support!
Thank you for your support!
Distribution of saris to widow mothers
Distribution of saris to widow mothers
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Maitri India

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