“I am blessed to know so many strong, selfless and resilient mothers in the community of Kuljing,” said Rashmireka, a community leader in Outreach International’s India program.
Rashmireka has now seen 28 widows in two communities access their pensions. Witnessing their financial struggles firsthand, she’s seen mothers who once had no means to feed their children no longer worry.
Widows in India are eligible to receive a monthly pension to continue providing food and medicines for their children after their husbands have passed. But unfortunately, the process is extremely rigorous, involving lots of paperwork—an impossible task for the many mothers who cannot read or write.
Living in a community below the poverty line, death by disease is not uncommon. When a woman loses her husband and becomes a widow, she must bear the weight of her entire family.
But these aren’t the only difficulties she faces. Because of the stigma left behind from the caste system, she is forced to accept societal oppression, loss of community rights and even the fear of leaving her home.
With a newly depleted income, it becomes much more difficult to take care of her first priority—her children.
Alamoti, a mother from Kuljing, endured relentless torment when she became a widow. But with the help of Outreach, she is now an integrated part of her community. She was taught to read and write and empowered to access her pension for the sake of her children.