Dear friends,


Greetings from Tiruvannamalai!

As we come to the end of yet another year of pain, penalties, restriction, regulations, travel bans, closures, lockdown, masks, social distances, etc. it is hard to take stock and be grateful. It has been a difficult year, probably a year of losses. Many of you may have suffered the loss a dear or near one and so do I. It’s difficult for anyone to remain in hope and celebrate Christmas, the birthday of Jesus, who is the symbol of hope, hope to the poor, the side lined, the sick and afflicted. It’s this hope for a better tomorrow that keeps us going. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL, our friends.

During the past year , when we faced the second wave of the pandemic, thousands of people lost their lives or lives of their dear and near ones to the pandemic that refuses to relent even after two years of its surfacing. Life has become very difficult for many in the world and especially in countries like ours where the majority depends on the unorganized sector for their livelihood and upkeep. The poor in general and the children in particular have been facing the brunt of the lockdown and the restrictions. Thousands of children got totally excluded from the education system with no access to online education which in turn eliminated any hope of economic or social mobility in their lives. Organization like ours have been making an effort to ease the situation a little but definitely not enough.

As we draw near to the close of the year 2021, there are still reasons to be grateful, that many of us stood for our neighbors and families, closely watching over and protecting them, bringing joy in the lives of each other. Many of you have reached out to us with unprecedented generosity to make sure that we all , at Mangalam welfare society and premalya handicrafts, tide over this difficult time. You, our parents, kept enquiring about our well being, sent donation to compensate for the loss of work and made sure that our women members had enough work to earn a living, and that the women and widows supported by the Om Shanthi Widows of India Project. We are aware that you did these during a period when you were also struggling to remain afloat. Many of our buyers continue to look for ways and means to support us and that vindicates Fair Trade as THE way forward. A BIG THANK FOR YOU TO YOU, OUR PARTNERS AND FRIENDS. We remain extremely grateful to you for the same.

We are about to enter the new year 2022 with the fear of the pandemic still in the air. Indeed we are staring at difficult times ahead in keeping the organization and the livelihood of the women unscathed. We have so far continued to financially and materially support all who depends on us to tide over this crisis. We count on your continued support in the coming year as well. We shall together make an effort to make the lives of the poor, the women and the children a little better and the world a little less unequal.

Thank you for your continued support and LOVE. Please keep yourself safe. Wish you all a joyous Christmas and very peaceful New year 2022.

Thanking you all,
With best regards,
and from all at premalya handicrafts and Mangalam welfare society, and all the poor and destitute whom you have helped to support.


In the Spring of 2019 my daughter Isabella and I had the opportunity to visit the Om Shanthi Widows Home.

We are so grateful for the visit of Kirsti and her daughter Isabella from JOS in Winter 2019 in our project Om Shanthi in Tiruvannamalai/South India.

Dearest friends of the Widows of India,

We share this update to inform you of the latest happenings for the widows in South India, with deepest gratitude in our hearts for all your support, without which none of the following events would have occurred.

Our Om Shanthi Old Age Home has become a strong beam of light in Tiruvannamalai and the outlying area.  Our project has become very well-known as being a very well-run support and haven for aging and abandoned women who here find refuge and loving care during their final years.

Public and civil authorities are recommending our services, as do the many westerners who come to visit after learning of our services to both old and young widows (who very often have multiple children).

The Om Shanthi Old Age Home has become a safe haven, currently housing 29 beautiful goddesses (ages range 70 – 93) who are lovingly cared for round the clock by a staff of nine wonderful women (also widows).

I (Anna) spend three months of the year in Tiruvannamalai, and Paulette typically spends 6 weeks here.  Kirsti Shields (of Journeys of Solutions) and her daughter also experienced the magic and beauty of the widows in the home this year.

Together, we all share in the efforts to contribute the maintenance of this worthy place, where destitute elderly women can live peacefully through the end of their days, instead of out on the streets.



This aspect of our project (the Old Age Home) is flourishing beautifully, and we now have directed our attention to another “hotspot”, where help is urgently needed.

There are many, many young widows with children whose husband has recently passed away, and who now stand facing a huge void in their lives.  They have lost their husband, the children their father, and the women now face the need to support themselves and their children, alone, without resources.

We have three social workers who go out in to the community to seek out and screen the needs of those who are now in desperate straits, often with little to eat.  Our social workers are very well attuned to the suffering of these young mothers, as they are widows, themselves.

Many live in the very rural and remote outskirts of Tiruvannamalai.  The widows and their children are so very grateful when we arrive with a sack of rich, dhal, and cooking oil!  We then sit with them,  listen to their story, and determine how we can best address their most urgent needs.  We help each family according to their specific need.   Every situation is different.

Many times, it is medical care which is most immediately needed:  HIV, malnutrition, and depression is widespread.  Their little hut’s roof in which they live needs repair – rain comes through in the rainy season, while they sleep on the floor.

We then look at helping to find work for these most often illiterate young women, whose only education has been to care for their families.

Last, but not least!  So very, very  important is the education of the children to whom is owed a fighting chance for a future in their country, which is so quickly developing its power and resources.   All widows are very strongly concerned about the future of their children, and it is ingrained in all children that education is the key to their rescue from a life of poverty.

All children are provided with schoolbags, school uniforms, and other materials which they need.  We also look to support children with higher education, as well.  Currently, we are giving support to 95 widows and otherwise destitute women, along with 172 students, of all ages.

The subdued flickering of hope seen in the eyes of the widows and their children upon our first visit is replaced with great joy – we see this in their eyes upon our follow-up visits made after some time of support.

It is because of each and every one of you that we are able to share in this reward for our endeavors, which we herewith share with you!  Without your kind support, none of this could have happened!  There are so, so many more who need our help!


With deep gratitude!

Anna & Paulette

Sad news from the Widows of India from Anna, but we can help! They are experiencing a terrible drought and need $3,000 to help raise the funds to bring water to women who desperately need it. Please read the story below.

To help now, donate via PayPal below, specify “Widows of India” as the project to support during PayPal process:

The drought in Tamil Nadu and in our Old Age Home is becoming very serious. For many weeks we have had to buy water, which is delivered in lorries and filled in our tanks, which we had to install in our garden. These are costs which we did not consider in our budget. I made a Facebook post about this matter and we’ve graciously received nearly $4,000, which have helps us with costs for water, tanks, pumps and the boring of a well that took place last week. Though unfortunately, the boring did not have success. Please see the video on this post.

For now, we have found a water expert here in Germany, who will travel to Tiruvannamalai as soon as possible to find water and then the boring might be more successful. We are organising this at the moment. These costs might amount to $3,000, and an additional boring, maybe two borings. I cannot calculate these costs, as we do not know, when we will be successful. It all depends on our good fortune!

The situation is very bad for everybody: farmers do not seed and harvest, building does not happen. Tourism suffers, and therefore so do shops and taxis and guesthouses, connected with tourists. Everybody is affected very badly. In addition it is extremely hot. The summermonsum (June/July) does not seem to bring rain and cooling.

Thank you so much for your help. We all pray for rain and hope it comes soon.

To help now, donate via PayPal below, specify “Widows of India” as the project to support during PayPal process:

We found Sarahda, having been dumped at the main road in Tiruvannamalai. She could not walk, and spoke the language of Kerala. She told us she was waiting for her family to pick her up again, which they promised, when they left her.