In the poverty-stricken community of Kuljing, India, malnutrition and diseases are prevalent, and for some, even fatal. Living in poor conditions, it becomes increasingly difficult for women to care for their children, especially after the death of a spouse. Whether death is caused by old age or a result of poor living conditions, it presents a tremendous struggle for those left behind. This month, with Outreach International’s help, six widows received pensions that will allow them to care for themselves and their children on their own.
By law, the Indian government allows widows access to a pension. But unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy as it sounds. Those seeking out such a gift must travel miles outside their home communities, fill out forms and endure a questioning—difficult tasks for those unable to read or write and having little experience communicating with people outside their own villages.
And because of the stigma widows once carried in India’s caste system, they often still face difficulty overcoming oppression—adding one more road block to obtaining a government pension.
Living in the same community for generations, many families are unfamiliar with much outside their own environment, and few are knowledgeable that such grants exist.
Bringing awareness to the community, Outreach International helped teach widows in Kuljing how to speak with government authorities and properly fill out government forms. And through a series of role-playing exercises, women left behind feelings of inadequacy and became self sustaining, ready to seek out their pensions.
This month, these six widows made the courageous journey to a government station. And with their new-found confidence, they successfully received government support, giving hope to their children and their communities.
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