In India, a widow is the ultimate social outcast. Seen as a bad omen whose ill luck caused her husband’s death, a widow is stripped of her colorful saris, jewelry, and bindi dot. She is considered a burden to her in-laws, often kicked out of her home and left to care for her children with little or no resources.
There are an estimated 40 million widows in India, the least fortunate of them shunned and stripped of the life they lived when they were married. Widows don't have many social rights within the family. The situation is much more extreme within some of India's rural community. There, it is much more tradition-bound; in urban areas, there are more chances and possibilities to live a normal life." But the majority of India's 1.1 billion population is rural. In many cases these widows have been ostracized from society, forced to beg or prostitute as a means of survival. Widows are shunned from society, not for religious reasons, but because of tradition and because they’re seen as a financial drain on their families. Cast out of the family home, they live the rest of their lives in poverty and isolation.
In traditional rural villages it is not uncommon for girls to marry at a young age, even as early as 14 yeas old, to an older man. These young wives come to the marriage without education, only having prepared to care for children and the home. When their husbands die, often from AIDS or drug and alcohol abuse, these women are without the skills and knowledge required for a job suitable to support their family. Widows are traditionally not allowed to remarry and are outcast by family and society while they bear the responsibility of caring for their children until each child has married. In a way Widowhood is considered as a state of social death.
Therefore RAN Association takes this project on humanitarian and priority basis to help with the widows in the village though regular prayer meetings, awareness programs, and financial help to empower them so that they could live a better and joy filled life in the Lord.
To provide economic opportunity and empowerment to this particularly vulnerable group of women in the name of Jesus and
To support them as they work toward changing the perceptions of widows in rural villages with the power of the Gospel.
Description and Activities: The Bible Says “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” Thus widows have become a vital part of RAN Ministry because they find a new family, a new hope, and a new future in Christ. RAN strives to help these women by giving financial and material support such as providing rice and clothing to supplement the meager income they generate from laboring in rice fields.
A deep desire to connect with and empower underserved women led us to start this project in Ventrapragada, Andhra Pradesh. A team of RAN staff would conduct a meeting in the local church premises and pray for them and listen to their concerns and counsel them on a monthly basis. We started supporting with small financial help each month and clothing once a year for 30 widows in this village. They also meet on a regular for a time of Gospel fellowship. Most of these women are in their older age and living with their children in poverty. Though this project we are determined to build a better life for themselves and their families.This is an ongoing project. Through this 32 women in the village of Ventrapragada are receiving support.
This project is on hold due to financial constrains but we are determined to raise support and continue to support these women.