Published on March 4, 2014
Hope and dignity for the ‘blamed and rejected’ widows of India Tuesday, 4 March 14
Women in India face many challenges. Although things are slowly changing in some parts of the country, inequality and discrimina@on are widespread, with boys’ educa@on priori@sed over girls’. Many women, par@cularly in rural areas, are illiterate and dependent on their husbands or male rela@ves. Tuesday, 4 March 14
Some end up in desperately unhappy marriages but have no way out. Ruth’s husband of 50 years leG her with physical and emo@onal scars. She’s now a widow and although she has a suppor@ve family, she worries for other widows, who face rejec@on, poverty and loneliness. Tuesday, 4 March 14
You are widowed because you did something wrong in your previous life: that is the view in this predominantly Hindu culture. So, whether a widow is from a rich or poor background, she faces blame, mistreatment and rejec@on. Many are kicked out of their homes and leG to fend for themselves and their children, leaving them in a desperate situa@on. That’s why we started the ‘Hope Givers’ program -‐ these women need to feel loved and see that their lives mean something. -‐ Dr Leelavathi Manasseh, Bible Society of India Tuesday, 4 March 14
Through the ‘Hope Givers’ program, the Bible Society of India and its partners oﬀer prac@cal help and hope to widows and other women facing diﬃcult situa@ons. Tuesday, 4 March 14
It runs workshops to teach the women prac@cal skills so that they are able to support themselves. These include candle-‐making, Tuesday, 4 March 14
...juice-‐making Tuesday, 4 March 14 and pickle-‐making.
It also provides counselling and legal advice, helping the women to access the government help they are en@tled to. Tuesday, 4 March 14
“We don’t start by giving them the Gospel,” says Dr Manasseh. “We help meet their needs and when they ask us why we’re helping them we tell them about Jesus’ love for widows and other vulnerable people. It’s a surprising message for them and many want to know more.” Tuesday, 4 March 14
For those who want to know more about Chris@anity, the program oﬀers seminars and Bible study groups, helping the women to understand God’s love for them. Tuesday, 4 March 14
Esther Rani Lakshmi lost her husband to AIDS four years ago, leaving her with two children. Discovering she was HIV posi@ve, she faced even more ridicule and rejec@on than other widows. She was helped by the ‘Hope Givers’ program. Esther now pastors a small church and reaches out to other widows and suﬀering women through the program. Tuesday, 4 March 14
God has worked so many miracles in my life. I believe that the Bible is God’s own heart -‐ that’s what I teach in my church and when I’m reaching out to other widows. They need to be loved and cared for and they can ﬁnd that through the Bible and through the love they receive from us. -‐ Pastor Esther Tuesday, 4 March 14
Around 5,000 women are helped and trained each year through the program. Each of those women go back into their communi@es to help at least another 5 women. Some@mes as many as 50,000 women in diﬃcult situa@ons are reached. Tuesday, 4 March 14
I’ve been a widow for four years and the lack of money is a constant worry. The skills I’ve been learning through this program are really useful because I’m able to make a li[le money to live on. I’m anxious about ge]ng ill and not being able to support myself but I have my church and my Jesus -‐ he is our Helper. -‐ Puspa Tuesday, 4 March 14
My marriage was not a good one. My husband treated me badly. I now live with my sons. I come to the ‘Hope Givers’ program because I need peace in my heart that only God can provide. My favourite Bible verse is Psalm 34:5 -‐ ‘The oppressed look to him and are glad; they will never be disappointed.’ -‐ Glory Tuesday, 4 March 14
I was happily married for 35 years. Now my husband is gone, I’m having a tough @me. I live with my daughter, who makes life very diﬃcult for me, and I’m afraid of what will happen to me in the future. I’ve been a Chris@an all my life. This program reminds me that I can put my trust in God. -‐ Gracy Tuesday, 4 March 14
“What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suﬀering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.” (James 1:27) Tuesday, 4 March 14
PLEASE PRAY FOR THIS WORK, WHICH IS BRINGING HOPE TO INDIA’S WIDOWS AND OTHER SUFFERING WOMEN To ﬁnd out more about our work around the world, visit firstname.lastname@example.org Tuesday, 4 March 14
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