India is a fascinating country full of contrasts. Even in village life where grinding poverty is clearly evident it is still incredibly colourful.
You regularly see oxen drawn rickety carts
Street vendors everywhere displaying their wares
People crammed into into tiny tuk tuks
Families of 5 or 6 riding on a single scooter
Labourers hauling impossible loads on small carts or bicycles
It was into this environment in 2012 that The Widows’ Cause launched its small business opportunities initiative. Through an interest-free repayable loan, destitute widows were given a chance to break the poverty cycle in their lives. Three years later we decided to see how some of our first widows financed into business were doing:-
In 2012 we financed Lakshmi into business, a widow in her early 30s. She hired a loom with her loan and makes beautiful silk saris. Business is constant. Lakshmi now makes 7 times the income she received when working for an employer. She is able to support her aging parents and is well established in her village
In 2013 the Widows Cause financed Simhachalam into the cowpat business. Aged between 65 and 70 (she’s not quite sure) she show remarkable initiative. With a consistent supply of cow dung at her back door she forms and dries the cowpats and sells them. Along with firewood, cowpats fuel the cooking fires in thousands of villages throughout India. She has even had to extend her premises to cope with demand
In 2014 the Widows Cause through a repayable loan financed Appalakonda so that she could establish a corner store. She had been widowed in her early twenties and left with two young children after her husband drowned at sea. She was desperate as she faced an uncertain and frightening future. In 2 years she has built up her business and is now making a steady income which allows her to educate her children. As a family they now have a more certain future.
In early 2015 the Widows Cause financed Venkatalaxmi into a fishing business. She is now 33 and was widowed 7 years ago leaving her alone with one son to raise. She buys fish wholesale and then travels to surrounding villages and on sells it. Fresh fish is always in demand, her life and that of her son have been totally turned around.
We want to thank those who supported and donated to the Widows’ Cause in 2015.
We want to impact hundreds of widows living in quiet desperation in the coming months.
Don’t forget all donations over $2 are now TAX DEDUCTIBLE…
The Widows’ Cause is a partner for Project J865N with Global Development Group (ABN 57 102 400 993). Donation over $2 with a preference for this project are tax deductible. Excess funds may be applied to other approved activities. No non-development activities (welfare, political, or evangelism) are a part of, or funded by, the GDG project. For more information please visit the website below. GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT GROUP globaldevelopment.org.au