Old age home for 250 abandoned elderly women

by Maitri India
Vetted
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
Last rites of Dulari by widow mothers
Last rites of Dulari by widow mothers

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.

Thank you!

Pictures from the visit of Sri Ram School Students
Pictures from the visit of Sri Ram School Students
Maitri Founder & Director catching up with widows
Maitri Founder & Director catching up with widows
A motorcycle for the staff to run errands
A motorcycle for the staff to run errands

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.

 

Chapla, when hospitalised and now recovering
Chapla, when hospitalised and now recovering
Taranbai making progress
Taranbai making progress
Doctor checking on resident widows
Doctor checking on resident widows
Our founder shares a warm moment with a widow
Our founder shares a warm moment with a widow

Dear Maitri Friend,

It is such a joy to report back to you on the progress we have made, of course with your support, in providing quality of life to widows living in MaitriGhar, Maitri’s Old Age Home. We are happy to inform you that 18 additional widow mothers have come to stay at MaitriGhar and are now living with dignity and the safe environs of MaitriGhar.

With your support we provided saris, towels, and shawls to all the resident widows numbering 125. Additionally, more than180 widows received routine health check up including gynae, breast cancer screening and medicines during Health Camps organized in the last quarter.

The ongoing construction at Radha Kund Home is now completed. As soon as the furnishing are done, 35 elderly mothers will be moving into reside there. Beds, mats, pillows, linen and other essentials are in the process of being procured before they can move in.

We are delighted to inform you that 32 of the resident widows who had registered for Widow’s Pension Scheme with the State Government finally received their pension, after advocacy by Maitri officials. Though the monthly pension amount is small Rs. 300 (50cents), it is a matter of pride that they are able to access their citizenship rights as well as they are part of the financial inclusion of the government with a bank account. “I am planning to use the pension money to make a trip to Haridwar”, said Meena Devi, a widow mother.

43 widows living in MaitriGhar now have access to Widow’s Pension Scheme. You may find it interesting to know the stages before they can get the pension money in their accounts. Starting with a Aadhar card (UID) issued by the Government to validate the identity, a bank account and a certificate to certify their age. We are working through these challenges to ensure each of our beneficiaries can have access to their citizenship rights and avail the financial and health schemes provided by the government for them.

Holi (a festival of colours )is celebrated with joyful fervour in homes and street in India and specially in Vrindavan. Traditionally, widows were excluded from this festivity. However, our widow mothers broke this tradition 5 years ago and have been celebrating with flowers, colours, dance and song ever since. They decorated the Home, showered flowers and colours on each other and sang and danced with abundance. We were privileged to have international photographers join in the celebration to capture these beautiful moments.

We are grateful to each one of you for making these beautiful and happy moments possible for these widows. They are no longer destitute, abandoned and shunned from the society. Thank you for your continued support!

Testimonial:

Hema is a Maitri beneficiary, was married to a 40-year-old farmer named Sukra. This being his second marriage, Hema had to take care of his four children by the previous wife. They had no children of their own. Hema’s husband and stepchildren were abusive and violent. Humiliation was a constant occurrence until her husband's death 15 years ago. After his death, Hema was turned out of the house by her step children. She travelled to Vrindavan in the hope of finding dignity and peace for herself. She came to Maitri Ghar in September of 2014 and has been living here ever since. She is happy to have a “home” where she lives with dignity and feels secure..

Recently, Hema accidently fell and hurt her hip bone. She has been in a wheelchair for the last three weeks. She is grateful to the Maitri staff for healthcare provided to her. She now uses a walker and is on medication for full recovery. She is happy to have received the pension money in addition recently. “I would like to have some savings now” , she says. It gives her a sense of financial security to have some savings in her own bank account.

Thank you once again for transforming lives of widows like Hema!

Hema with her big smile is grateful for medicalAid
Hema with her big smile is grateful for medicalAid
Widows line up for routine health check up
Widows line up for routine health check up
A widow registers herself during healtch camp
A widow registers herself during healtch camp
After consulting doctors, widows collect medicines
After consulting doctors, widows collect medicines
Widows Celebrating Holi
Widows Celebrating Holi
Widows share love and joy during Holi festival
Widows share love and joy during Holi festival
Widows visit local bank to widhdraw their pension
Widows visit local bank to widhdraw their pension
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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Organization Information

Maitri India

Location: New Delhi, Delhi - India
Website: http:/​/​www.maitriindia.org
Project Leader:
Maitri India
New Delhi, Delhi India

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