© 2013 admin

News


March 2019

UPDATE: WHAT’S NEW with the WIDOWS in TIRUVANNAMALAI

Dearest friends of the Widows of India,

We share this update to inform you of the latest happenings for the widows in South India, with deepest gratitude in our hearts for all your support, without which none of the following events would have occurred.

Our Om Shanthi Old Age Home has become a strong beam of light in Tiruvannamalai and the outlying area. Our project has become very well-known as being a very well-run support and haven for aging and abandoned women who here find refuge and loving care during their final years.

Public and civil authorities are recommending our services, as do the many westerners who come to visit after learning of our services to both old and young widows (who very often have multiple children).

The Om Shanthi Old Age Home has become a safe haven, currently housing 29 beautiful goddesses (ages range 70 – 93) who are lovingly cared for round the clock by a staff of nine wonderful women (also widows).

I (Anna) spend three months of the year in Tiruvannamalai, and Paulette typically spends 6 weeks here. Kirsti Shields (of Journeys of Solutions) and her daughter also experienced the magic and beauty of the widows in the home this year.

Together, we all share in the efforts to contribute the maintenance of this worthy place, where destitute elderly women can live peacefully through the end of their days, instead of out on the streets.

HELPING YOUNG WIDOWS AND CHILDREN:

This aspect of our project (the Old Age Home) is flourishing beautifully, and we now have directed our attention to another “hotspot”, where help is urgently needed.

There are many, many young widows with children whose husband has recently passed away, and who now stand facing a huge void in their lives. They have lost their husband, the children their father, and the women now face the need to support themselves and their children, alone, without resources.

We have three social workers who go out in to the community to seek out and screen the needs of those who are now in desperate straits, often with little to eat. Our social workers are very well attuned to the suffering of these young mothers, as they are widows, themselves.

Many live in the very rural and remote outskirts of Tiruvannamalai. The widows and their children are so very grateful when we arrive with a sack of rich, dhal, and cooking oil! We then sit with them, listen to their story, and determine how we can best address their most urgent needs. We help each family according to their specific need. Every situation is different.

Many times, it is medical care which is most immediately needed: HIV, malnutrition, and depression is widespread. Their little hut’s roof in which they live needs repair – rain comes through in the rainy season, while they sleep on the floor.

We then look at helping to find work for these most often illiterate young women, whose only education has been to care for their families.

Last, but not least! So very, very important is the education of the children to whom is owed a fighting chance for a future in their country, which is so quickly developing its power and resources. All widows are very strongly concerned about the future of their children, and it is ingrained in all children that education is the key to their rescue from a life of poverty.

All children are provided with schoolbags, school uniforms, and other materials which they need. We also look to support children with higher education, as well. Currently, we are giving support to 95 widows and otherwise destitute women, along with 172 students, of all ages.

The subdued flickering of hope seen in the eyes of the widows and their children upon our first visit is replaced with great joy – we see this in their eyes upon our follow-up visits made after some time of support.

It is because of each and every one of you that we are able to share in this reward for our endeavors, which we herewith share with you! Without your kind support, none of this could have happened! There are so, so many more who need our help!

With deep gratitude!
Anna & Paulette

November 2017

Dear friends of our widows abroad!

We got again wonderful news from our friends in India and want to share them with you. Hopefully you find time to read this article.
Thanks to your generous donations we could start construction work on our third house now in September, which will finally be our hospice. Originally intended to start earlier, it was not possible, because all Tamil Nadu suffered a serious drought throughout the year and we did not have water to mix the concrete. We had to undergo a lot of efforts to get water, because our old well was totally dried out. The first boring was not successful, although it was 200 m deep. A water expert from Germany volunteered to help and found water in our garden only about 20 m deep. We are all so happy to have now a reliable source of good drinking water. Finally in August heavy rain came, so everybody in Tiruvannamalai is happy and construction work could start.
The Indian custom called “Boomi Pooja” (a ceremony) before construction starts, was done the 15th of September. Workers and owner have to ask the permission of Mother Earth to build the new home. Since then construction work has progressed fast, we might celebrate inauguration in January 2018.

The new hospice is needed urgently. Often elderly abandoned women are found in a very terrible condition. They need very special and intense care. Ghandhimathi, whom we found last Christmas on our mainroad died after 6 weeks. She expressed very often, how happy she was to be in our home and to be cared for so lovingly during her last time on earth.

Saratha is a widow, who benefitted a lot from the special care, we gave her after her arrival in our home. Relatives had dumped her also on the side of the main road, asking her to wait, until they come back to pick her up. This did not happen. She was lying there, unable to walk, barely alive. We brought her to hospital and had her examined. Her legs are not functioning any more, so she probably will never be able to walk, but the problem is always, that they did not get enough to eat over a long time. When she was strong enough we brought her to our Om Shanthi Home. Unable to stand and extremely weak, she could not sleep in a bed and could not get to the bathroom to relieve herself. Since she was from Kerala and did not speak Tamil we had to find a translator to communicate with her.

Her strong efforts to help herself were very moving for all of us. She dragged herself to the bathroom with her arms and tried to wash her hair and body herself. Slowly Saratha won a place in the hearts of all the widows in the house. Today she is the darling of everybody!
Kannama is mentally disturbed and was picked up from the street. She was brought to the Rangamal Hospital to see how we can help her best. In spite of all the misery they have endured a long time, which we cannot at least imagine, they keep up their natural dignity.
The second very important part of the Om Shanthi project is support of young widows and their children. We protect them, teach them handicraft, provide education for their children and the young widows. We try to find jobs for them according to their talents and capacities so that they are capable to take care for their children themselves. For this purpose we created a councelling center in Shantimalai Handicraft Center. At the moment our social worker Chandra is busy with finding young widows in the far away villages because the women are too shy and hopeless to come by themselves. Together we discuss opportunities how to help each of these young women and their children. We want to avoid that the children are sent into an orphanage and the widows become prostitutes.
There is so much misery in the world and so much help needed. Please continue to give us your kind donation. Without your help we cannot do any work.
With deep gratitude and warm regards from all our helpers and widows.
Anna

 

Facebookgoogle_plusby feather