CARE & SUPPORT FOR DESTITUTE WIDOWS IN VRINDAVAN | INDIA
Initiated: July 2010
- Promoting respect and dignity.
- Improving nutrition, health & socio-economic status for Vrindavan’s widows.
- Empowering beneficiaries by encouraging independence, self-respect & education about rights.
Considered among the holiest of India’s holy cities, Vrindavan, Mathura, in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is also well-known as the city into which an estimated 15,000 Hindu widows (Source: National Commission for Women) have made their home. Widows, who have been turned out by their own kith and kin, even before the last embers of their husbands’ funeral pyres have died.
Maitri is presently working with more than 500 widow mothers in ashrams (shelter homes) in Vrindavan, and plans to scale up the care and support to 2,500 widow mothers by 2015.
The widow mothers benefiting from Project Jeevan receive a free daily midday meal to form a healthy and nourishing diet. Supplements are also provided to address the specific geriatric needs of widows.
Widow mothers are also provided with basic and specialized healthcare during regular multi-specialty health camps conducted through Maitri’s network of partners. Maitri facilitates cataract surgeries, cancer treatment and other care for serious diseases that require medical attention or hospitalization.
Maitri works to ensure that the widows receive benefits from the government schemes such as pension of Rs.300 per month, Swadhar Yojana under which they receive Rs 550 per month from the government for food, Aadhaar cards (Social Security number and card), Below Poverty Line ration cards etc. These cards and enrollment allow the widow mothers to access various government benefits including subsidized medical insurance, medical treatment, and rations.
Maitri promotes respect and dignity for the widow mothers by giving them opportunities for income generation including activities such as making paper, cloth prayer beads, incense sticks etc.
- Provision of a free midday meal, and sarees twice a year to 500 widows
- Extensive contact with the state government of UP to obtain Voters Identification and ADHAR cards
- Basic health care every day and multi-speciality health camps at regular intervals. Most of the multi-speciality doctors offer their services to the widow mothers pro bono.
- Cataract surgeries provided to 47 beneficiaries dealing with cataract-impaired vision.
- Cancer treatment provided to two widows.
- Income generation opportunities to augment income and encourage the widow mothers to be self-reliant, with the objective of restoring dignity and respect.
- Widow mothers’ last rites performed in compliance with religious ceremonies and tradition