Category Archives: Widows

IDW 2015

IDW 2015

Happy 25th International Development week!

This week, thisvillage has been reflecting on the Millennium Development Goals set out by the UN in 1990. These goals had a deadline to be achieved by 2015 therefore, the UN has also been reviewing them and weighing up their success. In fact, they have unveiled a new set of goals, called Sustainable Development Goals. (ßRead more about them, they’re cool!)

The SDGs consist of 17 targets to reach before 2030. For example, number 1 SDG is: End poverty in all its forms everywhere (whoa! Lofty!).

But hey. We would like to see an end to poverty too. And that’s not the only goal that we can relate to:

Number 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all ages.

Maternal mortality has fallen 45% since 1990, but we can’t forget that 50% of women do not receive the recommended health care during pregnancy*. One of our major projects in Bandanpally is providing wells and toilets for the community.

Number 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life long learning opportunities for all.

90% of children in developing countries are now enrolled in primary school, but what about the other 58 million*, or those that are forced to drop out. thisvillage believes in education, and that equipping marginalized community members with confidence and practical skills is essential to their long-term prosperity. Some of the projects we’ll be implementing in Bandanpally include stocking the school library with books and desks.

Number 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

The enrolment in primary school is distributed equally among boys and girls*, but women still face inequality in education, work, and decision-making. thisvillage knows that empowering women and children is key to alleviating poverty. One program we’ll be implementing in Bandanpally is a support group for widowed women.

These statistics are encouraging. People working together can make a difference to the injustice in the world. thisvillage works to alleviate poverty on a smaller scale. You can also fight for sustainable international development. Help thisvillage make a difference, one village at a time!

–Julia Kutyn

*All statistics in above article are available at www.un.org/millenniumgoals/

Inspiration from widowed women

Widows' Meeting

Yesterday, we had the privilege of attending one of our partner organization’s widows’ meetings in a nearby village. As part of their women’s empowerment program, Bala Vikasa provides what are essentially support groups for widows. 

Unlike most western cultures, to be a widow in India means that you are nothing. Widows are ostracized by their in-laws, harassed by their community members, and are largely abandoned. Widows are considered bad luck, and are blamed for the deaths of their husbands.

Practically speaking, widows often cannot work because they are illiterate, and thus cannot care for their children. They are faced with innumerable obstacles, which is remarkably different from western experience wherein grief is a widow’s only concern.

The women we met yesterday–though justifiably tearful–were a great inspiration. With the help of Bala Vikasa, many of them have relatively stable work, and some are even entrepreneurs in their respective villages.  Moreover, these women develop courage and independence by sharing their stories in a group setting. 

Attending the widows’ meeting was an immensely helpful introduction to one of many issues thisvillage will be faced with. 

— Christie Esau