Widows’ Care

    About the Widows’ Care Program

    Many widows in India face extreme poverty, discrimination and inhumane treatment. When her husband dies, a widow loses all social status and her in-laws often withdraw any support from her. The widow’s children too are isolated, often in unhealthy conditions. Some are sexually or physically abused, and without any inheritance rights to property.

    Often the most marginalised people in Hindu society are the widows from villages and slums. In Indian society, much status is linked to marriage, so the death of a  husband and the marginalisation of the mother means that there is no provider for the family. A mother’s children, home and belongings can be taken by her in-laws who may even blame her for their son’s death. It is not uncommon for a family to be beaten regularly by their own relatives.  Considered cursed, employment is difficult to find and children suffer severe deprivation.  For a mother, her only remaining comfort in life is her children, keeping them together and supporting them in the community.

    Our Widows’ Scheme is a life-saver for women in this situation. For £18 per month we send a child to school, give access to a doctor and essential medicines. If necessary, we pay rent for basic accommodation when a family faces homelessness. £18 also buys a large sack of rice for the family to help alleviate the cost of food.

    house for valliyamai

    Venila’s Story 

    VenillaTwo of Venila’s children are in Joy Children’s Home. Venila works at the local school as a cook and came to Annie and Omega for help a while ago with two desperate needs: she needed to secure a permanent position at the school, the cost of which was 10,000 rupees (c. £140). She also required the same amount to build a small extension at the back of her house, which was in a dangerously poor condition.  Annie and Omega could only provide 10,000 rupees, so she had to choose. Venila built the extension on her house to ensure a safe living environment for her and her children. 

    Venila is supported by India Direct for £18 a month, with which buys a sack of rice, pays for schooling for her daughter who still lives at home and emergency medical care. The school where Venila works pays her only in food for herself whilst she works during the day.

    We found Venila living in a 50-year-old house made from reinforced concrete. The iron reinforcing rods had rusted as the concrete  cracked, making large chunks split off and fall. The rods themselves are also falling from the ceiling and risk hitting Venila and her family.

    Thanks to India Direct, there is now £500 to build Venila a new house.  We have also paid off her debts to a local loan shark, while a generous donor has offered to pay the £140 so that Venila can now work permanently at the school.

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