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 participation and staying active
Shower your love to these beautiful Widow Mothers