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.
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!
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:
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.
Dear Maitri Friend,
We would like to update you with the latest from Maitri Ghar – Old Age Home, “Ashram” to house destitute and abandoned widows of Vrindavan.
We are extremely saddened to share the news of passing away of a widow mother, Dulari, on 19th August 2016. Dulari was one of the resident widows at Maitri Ghar since 2014. She had been unwell for a few weeks and was getting medically treated at R. K. Mission Hospital in Vrindavan. On 19th August she suffered a cardiac arrest and breathed her last at the hospital, where she was taken in an emergency. With the consent of her relatives, her last rites were conducted by the widow mothers. Dulari’s passing away and her last rites were of a mother, who in her last years lived with dignity and did her last journey with dignity. The other widow mothers who became her friend and sister since she moved to the Ashram, loved and cared for her till the end. Widow mothers gave her a send off by decorating her body, the funeral procession and pyre with flowers. God bless her soul!
The last quarter has been a time preparing for the festive season by the mothers. While in the past ever since their husband’s death, they have been deprived of their right to celebrate festivals, they celebrated Navratari, a celebration of the auspicious ten days, with wearing of new clothes, dressing ceremoniously and visiting different temples and partaking in celebration and sweetmeats. Needless to mention, they have been having their meals, fruits and milk, etc with regular health checkups and facilitating the visit of those who are sick to the hospital.
In the month of September Maitri distributed saris (traditional attire) to all resident and non-resident widow mothers. We would like to mention that we have persuaded the women to wear a bit of colour on the sarees and not coarse white saree as they earlier used to wear. We are delighted to tell you, the women look happy and beautiful in their new sarees with coloured borders. As winter is fast approaching, winter clothing consisting of woolen cap, gloves, socks, and a set of thermals has also been given to keep them warm..
On 24th September 2016, a group of 38 high school students and their teachers visited MaitriGhar to visit our widow mothers. They brought joy and laughter to the lives of the widow mothers . The mothers were delighted to interact with the girls, danced and sang songs in praise of Krishna with the young ones. The students served lunch to the widow mothers and thereafter joined them in eating lunch. It was a moment of extreme emotion as the women in the past were discriminated against and now, children who could be their grandchildren’s age, hugged, embraced and shared a meal with them. Students understood the issue of humiliation and indignity suffered by the widows living in Vrindavan. We do hope the young students are able to influence people in their communities in respecting the elderly and ageing, more so a widow mother.
We would like to express our gratitude to all of you for supporting the 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.
Dear Maitri Friend,
Thank you for your continued support to Maitri Ghar, the old age home for widows in Vrindavan. 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. In this quarter, Maitri has welcomed 13 mothers into the MaitriGhar fold and home. They came to Maitri looking for shelter, they found a home to live in comfort with respect and dignity.
During the quarter, four resident widows- Chapla, Hema, Parul, and Taranbai - suffered serious illnesses and were admitted to the hospital. Chapla suffered a stroke and partial paralysis of her left side of the body and was hospitalised for two weeks. On discharge, she returned to The MaitriGhar home, as her son refused to take her home. She has been under the constant care of a qualified nurse and a doctor on call, along with physical therapy every day. Ofcourse, she had to be put on diapers since her bladder was not in control. We are happy to inform you that she is getting stronger everyday with a nutritiousdiet and physiotherapy, as prescribed by the doctor. She has started walking with the support of a walker. Hema, Parul and Taranbai were discharged after their health improved. Their complaints ranged from chest pain to severe stomach ache and acute case of gastroenteritis.Your support and contribution makes it possible for us to care for the widow mothers and give them a life of respect and dignity.
As the widow mothers are ageing and are in fragile health due to their circumstances, Maitri has a doctor who visits Maitri Ghar in both the homes (Vrindvanand Radha Kund) twice a week. He gives a physical check to all those who have any complaints, and give them medicines for minor ailments. If we find any mother having a serious complaint, she is immediately taken to the hospital for a check and investigations. We have networked and also have partner organisation supporting us with weekly visits by their doctor and a mobile medical van for minor illnesses. Ensuring better health and prevention of serious sickness.
This past quarter, Maitri facilitated eight widow mothers apply for widows’ pension. And we are delighted to tell you that all eight have received the pension funds in their bank accounts. I will mention that though the pension is meagre, but it brings them their right to which they are entitled from the state Government. Also it is empowering for them to have a bank account, which gives them identity. Maitri is committed to ensuring citizenship rights for all our mothers which includes voter card, Aadhar Card (Unique Identification card), Below Poverty Line Card, Bank Account, pension etc.
We invite Maitri supporters and well-wishers of widow mothers to visit the mothers in Vrindavan and spend time. They crave love and affection and of course talk. The need to touch is very strong in them as they feel unloved, a warm hug lasts them a long time till the next one.
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