We are thrilled to announce that Maitri was featured on July 15th 2012 on the distinguished TV show, Satyamev Jayate under the Aamir Khan Foundation!
This episode’s theme focused on ageing in India. Over the last 40 years India’s elderly population has grown significantly. But a combination of cultural and economic changes has led to some unfortunate backlash for the elderly. In this episode Aamir Khan, the show’s host, explored some of the challenges the elderly population faces in modern India.
Maitri had the privilege of being requested to appear on this episode because of our ongoing work with elderly, neglected widows in Vrindavan. In many Indian cultures, widows are considered a bad omen and are abandoned by their families and by society. Historically, widows have congregated in India’s holiest cities – Vrindavan and Varanasi – praying to Lord Krishna for release from the cycle of birth and rebirth. Maitri’s project, called “Project Jeevan,” aims to improve the health and economic status of the widows living in Vrindavan with the ultimate intent of promoting their individual empowerment and restoring their dignity.
The widows’ poor and oppressed conditions open the door for many new opportunities. Maitri is helping to meet the widows’ health and nutrition needs by providing the widows from two different ashrams, or shelter homes (approximately 500 women) with nutritious mid-day meals every day. We also organize much-needed medical visits and provide the widows with other basic needs, such as clothing and blankets.
In addition to their basic needs for food and shelter, these women need love and support. On Satyamev Jayate this Sunday we were able to express this need. Many of the widows miss their families. They collect provisions and save their clothes to take home to their children. When they spend a week at home with their families they are welcomed on the first day as they distribute gifts, but during the remainder of the visit are often neglected and abused. The widow mothers have already learned to live simply and survive on very few resources. But they yearn for something they may never have: acceptance by their families and by society.
Maitri’s appearance on Satyamev Jayate is a huge step in spreading awareness about the widows’ conditions. As we continue to spread the message to a larger audience we may hopefully one day overcome the stigma that has stripped so many elderly women of their basic rights.
Maitri thanks Aamir Khan Foundation, Satyamev Jayate & Reliance foundation for the opportunity & recognition.