'Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope'

There are an estimated 258 million widows around the world. Nearly one in ten live in extreme poverty. Data suggests that with approximately 50 million widows, India has the largest widow-population in the world.

 

The Pain of Survival

As United Nations observes, for many women, the devastating loss of a partner is magnified by a long-term fight for their basic rights and dignity. Losing their husband also means losing identity, land rights, property, income, and possibly their children.  Their physical safety is at greater risk, just when they may be suffering serious emotional trauma. In the Indian context, widows face unique vulnerabilities that may vary by caste, age, social context, and household composition. Historical evidence suggests that widows have often been the victims of social ostracism, enforced dress and behavior codes, physical and sexual violence, and accusations of witchcraft (Ref:Chen 2000|Megan Reed in Demographic Research). There are many local and cultural practices that makes life miserable for those widows who do not have a proper economic support.

 

The Fatal Covid Blow

COVID-19, particularly the second wave has suddenly pushed many more thousands to the distress and pains of widowhood. Before the pandemic, nearly one in ten widows lived in extreme poverty. Covid has worsened the life situations of poor widows who were the breadwinners, as the options to work or do business closed down or shrank during the pandemic.

 

Support these mothers – What could be done for the destitute widows who have meagre incomes and are emotionally distressed? Can we help their children to tide over the pain and the persisting aftershocks of having lost a parent? And what about the single parent families who struggle to make both ends meet? OSF has drawn up a list of such families and children who deserve regular support. We seek your valuable support in this initiative.

Project Cruse - An OSF-initiative for the Destitute Families

Many are stressed to pay their children’s fee and support their education in these trying circumstances. Seeing their daily struggles, monetary hardships and challenges in bringing up children, OSF felt it necessary to create a support system for their welfare. We have a formal process to screen the requests and only genuine cases will be taken up for support. We invite your attention to help these destitute families realize some of their dreams!

Contributions will be utilised for:

  • Monthly / bi-monthly support for general expenses; temporary support to widows who’ve lost their livelihood/job due to Covid
  • Educational support (fees / expenses for study materials) for the children of widows and single parents
  • Initiatives to make some of them to be self-supporting through skilling options

How would the amount reach them?

A monthly need-equivalent for each family is computed.

This is based on their current earnings, student fees and living expenses.

The amount will be directly transferred to their account.

“Widows’ deprivation has for too long been comprehensively ignored, yet the conditions many widows are forced to live in by economic necessity or social norms amount to a humanitarian emergency and significant human rights violations including segregation, harassment, extortion, sexual assault and murder, all on a large scale.” ..World Widows Report