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.

 

HELPING YOUNG WIDOWS AND CHILDREN:

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.

Dear Friends,

A number of you have expressed the desire to meet Anna Etter, and to learn more about the Widows of India project which she single-handedly founded in 2008.

Come and hear of this current, true-to-life happening which will open your heart and inspire you! It is a tale that begins with the sad circumstances of many widows in India, yet your heart will be opened, inspired, and uplifted as you learn of Anna’s efforts, the success of the project, and her love affair with these wonderful and beautiful women – our sisters in India.

The Widows of India Project ( www.widowsofindia.de/?lang=en ) began when Anna came upon a destitute Indian woman lying near-death at the edge of a dirt road under a pile of rags along a dusty rural road in Tiruvannamalai, South India. Anna sought help for this woman from both Westerners and Indians, but was told “there is nothing to be done”. This – she could not accept! Anna went on to seek help for this woman, but when she came back the woman was gone.

Anna learned that this woman was a widow, and and upon inquiry and research, she learned even more about the harsh reality facing many, many Indian widows – that still today, they are cast out of their homes, destitute, on to the streets when their husbands die.

Anna’s thought was, “There, but for the Grace of God, go I!” It was then that Anna claimed her mission in life – to help our Indian sisters, thereby working to shift the consciousness of the culture, while positively impacting Indian women’s lives in the immediacy of their need.

This story of small beginnings, determination, courage, and love represents all that can be, when our hearts are open. It is a current, true-to-life tale of the plight of many widows in India – yet you will be inspired, and your heart will be lifted as you listen and learn how 25 elderly widows are now happily living out their remaining years at the Om Shanthi Old Age Home, and how numerous younger widows in the community are being helped with on-the-job handicraft training and educational programs, thus enabling them to be self- supporting and productive members of their society.

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet Anna! She is visiting from Germany for just a short while. Come and meet her on Saturday, August 20, at my home, where she will share her experiences, and information about the project, and of upcoming plans for expansion of the project.

So, please come! Don’t miss this! But – space is limited, so please RSVP at your earliest opportunity!

Where:
114 Churchview Lane
Pittsford, NY 14534

When:
Saturday, August 20
2 – 5 p.m.

(Snacks, finger foods and beverages will be served.)

Many blessings!

Paulette Elberti
585-764-0050