Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Dignified Widows

Visiting Project Jeevan’s site was an unexpected experience. I had been working at Maitri for a month prior to the visit and all I had known about the widows were that they were victims of their culture and society. I knew that they were untouchables that had been abandoned, abused, and forgotten. So when I finally met them I had certain expectations about the sadness and heartbreak they were experiencing. What I actually found were grateful and spiritual women who had found a community they called home. They greeted me with a special call they make to honor guests. Vrindavan, being the holiest city to Lord Krishna of the Hindu religion, is where these women spend their lives in his worship. Each day they play instruments and chant mantras while they dance for their spirituality. On my visit a particularly lively widow invited me to dance with her in front of the group. Watching the widows dance and sing exemplified the identity, dignity, and respect that Maitri seeks to restore to its beneficiaries. The backgrounds of these women did not stop them from dancing and Maitri gave them a place to do so.

Please visit Maitri’s Indiegogo platform for elderly widows’. This initiative benefits one of India’s most destitute and marginalized populations who is greatly in need of relief. Prior to Maitri’s efforts these women had no alternative to their suffering, abandonment, stigmatization, and poverty. Currently the old age homes and nutritional support offered provide a better quality of life to those in need. 

-Lauren Holman

Photo taken by Brok Dixon

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