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
Widows in praise and devotion to God
Solar panels at Maitri Ghar
Widows at Maitri Ghar in Radha Kund
One of the resident widows at Maitri Ghar