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Subject: Widows in India

Hindu widows, the poorest of the poor, are shunned from society when their husbands die – not for religious reasons, but because of tradition and because they are seen as a financial drain on their families. They cannot remarry. They are invisible to society. Even their shadows are considered bad luck. With little social or economic status, many become destitute, living in the streets.

In India, a woman is respected only if she is a mother, daughter and wife. Since women in India are often married off at a young age instead of being educated, they usually lack the skills and knowledge to fend for themselves economically and fight for their basic rights. When a man dies, his widow is seen as bad luck; she is shunned from her community and exiled from family and friends. She is no longer welcome in the homes of those who once loved her. Her presence at family functions is totally forbidden. Most times her grown children even turn her away. The situation is even more extreme within India’s rural community, where it is much more tradition-bound; in urban areas, there are more chances and possibilities to live a normal life.

The widows of India can be helped to attain the ability to become active and valuable community members. We can bestow our kindness and caring upon them to aid the widows in enriching their lives.

There is always hope wherever there is effort.

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