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QU: One Year On


Quarterly Update

Q2 / 2018

In February,
four of “The Widows’ Cause” team travelled to India to visit projects in Chennai and Indore. Time was also spent with the local teams planning for 2018.

We were ‘blown away’ by the positive change we saw in the lives of our 109 widows that TWC impacted last year.   Obviously some are doing better than others but all are very grateful for the opportunity to improve their lives.

Strangely, many Indians would say “there is no poverty in India”. It is true that in cities like Chennai affluent suburbs exist in stark contrast to the slums where our widows live… just a cramped room for sleeping, eating and working with no running water or electricity for the most part. Add the stench of the local fetid river to complete the picture.

In Indore the leper colonies are kept clean but often have no running water or electricity. In the village of Dhar it is hot, dry and dusty. Our widows live in tiny ramshackle huts. There, two wells serving the village communities are rapidly drying up and the available water is polluted.

This is a desperate situation.

Recently the Indian government introduced 18% GST which rocked most of India. Despite the challenges our widows remain DETERMINED and UNSTOPPABLE. They will do whatever it takes to improve their lives through hard work…. we applaud you.

is 32 and mother of 2 boys.  Poornima sells sarees at home and in the local market.  Her future is much brighter.
is 59 and has 1 son.  She has diversified into fish/flour sales and doing very well.
is 33 and mother to 2 girls.  She runs a tailoring business.  This is providing a steady income.
is 62 and has 3 children.  Rani expanded her fish stall at the market with her loan and it is thriving.
Dave and Vasugi.     Never a dull moment with Dave.

is 70 and has 2 children and a number of grandchildren.
She sells eggs from home which is providing a regular income. She no longer has to beg on the streets.
is 48 and has 1 son and 4 grandchildren.
This widow has a thriving goat business and she couldn’t be happier.
at 39 is an absolute standout.  She is a natural leader in her community and is a skilled tailoress.  She hopes to diversify into jewellery also.
is 27 and mother of 2.  She is a field labourer but also raising goats.
In time this will be the primary source of income for this courageous widow and her family.
Gary & Lila.   Little in stature, big in heart.

“The Widows’ Cause honours the widows of Dhar”.
That’s the caption on the plaque of a new 500ft bore well about to be drilled to help the village of Dhar. There are currently 2 wells that quickly dry up in summer.

One is virtually dry now and the other is polluted. Most of the finance will come from repaid loans which the widows are faithfully paying back.

We were shocked at loans being given to widows with repayment
calculated at 10% per month.

However we have topped that. Some of our widows are already trying to do business in the local markets. In the morning they borrow RS.1,000 to purchase stock to resell. In the evening they repay their greedy Loan Shark RS.1,200. That’s 20% per day !!!

What a difference an interest-free loan from “The Widows’ Cause” will make. Where they were making $3 a day they will now be making $7 a day!
What a difference!

TWC are preparing to launch 36 more widows into business in Chennai very soon.

Our local team have also assessed a new area outside of Chennai that has 70 widows in need.

TWC initially will finance a group of 12 widows into business to establish our systems and processes.


IMPORTANT please quote J865N with donations

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.
Visit our website for further information



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The Widows Cause : Quarterly Update 05


Quarterly Update
Q1 / 2016

Happy New Year


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.

Fundraisers 2015

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.

Bring on 2016!

– Gay & team

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.
Visit our website for further information

Great News – babies!

GREAT NEWS. In April 10 baby buffalo calves were born - 7 females and 3 males. Mothers and babies all doing well.
This is a first since the buffalo farm started in December 2013. There is now 20 adults and 36 younger buffalo on the farm and we anticipate adding another 10 adults in the near future.
The farm's buffalo milk is in much demand because of its high quality. Income from milk sales is presently feeding 181 needy widows each month.


Quarterly Update #2 – profiles

From our last Quarterly Update here are some of the lives we heard about.


Tikkada Nagamani aged 29 was married to an alcoholic. He died in 2013 as a result of excessive drinking. Tikkada was all alone with her two little boys aged 3 and 4. She was devastated to the point of contemplating suicide as she saw no way forward for her and her two sons. Tikkada heard about the help the Widows’ Cause provides, and hoped they would assist her.
We did.
Last year she was financed into a business; “breakfast on the run”. She is doing amazingly well, and has great hope for her sons’ future and hasn’t looked back. – fabulous.

Slave Labour

Pukkalla Ratnam is 37 with two sons 9 and 7. Her husband was the sole provider for the family but he died in a fishing accident at sea in 2009. Pukkalla was overwhelmed by the challenge of trying to provide for her young sons. She worked as a housemaid in a wealthy home from morning till night for less than $1 a day. Life was tough and exhausting. The Widows’ Cause financed her into a fish business. Everyday she is out selling fish and making more money than she could have ever imagined. The future is bright – wonderful.











Inconsolable Grief

Rachapalli Nooka Ratnam is 33 and the mother of 2 girls aged 13 and 14. Her husband died from kidney failure in 2012 because her family couldn’t afford dialysis. This once happy family suffered much as they saw a husband and father waste away. His death was an indescribable loss. Rachapalli had some tailoring skills and the Widows’ Cause was able to assist her in buying a second hand sewing machine and all the necessary materials needed. Today Rachapalli is much happier because of her sewing business has given her and her girls hope and a way forward. – so encouraging.


A Christmas Gift to change a life.

$100 isn't much - but in India for our widows it's a life changer. For this Christmas time the donation of $100 is enough to enable an Indian widow to get on her feet and break the poverty cycle in her life forever. The starting of a small business means that she can provide income for her and her children so that she no longer has to beg and isn't a burden on her village. Because of this, she's also treated with more respect from her local community. From the income of this business she can in turn help others - it's a ripple effect. 
Also as an additional benefit this Christmas season we will also provide you with a photo and information of the personal widow you have helped rescue. Please email us at [email protected] if you're interested. Information and photographs will be provided early in the new year.

This Christmas - Change a life.

Donate today.
 Christmas2014_campaign_v2logo_web (1)

Fast & Furious

Two weeks ago cyclone Hud Hud hit the area. Gale force winds and pounding rain created a terrifying experience for everyone.

Some of our widows lost their homes and belongings. Loss of electricity in surrounding areas and impassable roads meant that all communication was cut off.

After several days we heard that all our widows and their families were safe. Our Indian team is now assessing the damage.
Life is unpredicatable and tough in this part of the world. In the rainy season from July - October there is always the threat of heavy rains and cyclones.
Many widows see their little homes destroyed and their belongings lost. Some never recover from the devastation.
The Widows Cause provides emergency relief in these situations.


Devastation Avoided

Last year a devastating cyclone hit the coastline of Andhra Pradesh. Forty six widows in Moolapetta lost everything but the clothes they were wearing.

History seemed to be repeating itself this September with torrential rain and flooding. The Widows' Cause hired two trucks for seven days at a cost of $100 per day.

Widows involved in small business where able to place all their possessions inside the trucks. Thankfully no huts or belongings were lost this time.

The 140 Widows affected are now back working.

They are incredibly grateful that life is getting back to normal. These widows have grabbed hold of the opportunity to start a small business and are running with it. How different life is now and they are prepared to work hard to turn the lives of their families totally around... ...incredibly resilient.


Traumatised Buffalo

In late August we purchased our second group of 10 buffalo. Torrential rains and treacherous roads extended the normal 1800km journey from Deli to ten days instead of seven.
It's no wonder the buffalo were wild-eyed and extremely nervous and unable to cope with an open space.

We were forced to build a temporary shed to house them until they adjusted. Two months later mothers and babies are thriving and milk production is up.
It's very encouraging that The Widows cause is now self-sustaining. 180 frail widows are been fed on the 1st of each month.
Salaries for our two herdsmen running the buffalo farm are covered, as are the salaries of 2 supervisors who oversight our small business opportunities for younger widows.
Shed extensions on the buffalo farm have been completed and awaiting the arrival of our next 10 buffalo.


Changing Their World


This younger widow along with 49 others in early April was offered the opportunity to start up a small business in her village by The Widows' Cause. This was done by a loan of $115 repayable over 6 months.

The journey of breaking the poverty cycle in their lives had begun.
Incredibly they start to feel more self confident, develop a sense of self respect and along with that comes hope and purpose for the future.

At the end of August the Widows' Cause will be adding another 48 widows to this programme. this will bring the total to 168 widows involved in a small business opportunity.

Sooooooooo worth it.

Extremely Courageous


Nookalamma is 48 and HIV positive. She has seen both her husband her daughter die in recent times and is now sole carer for her granddaughter.
When we first met last September, she was living in dismal conditions and desperate to be able to feed her granddaughter on a regular basis.

Initially it was thought that this courageous widow would have to be included in the feeding programme as local villagers would be unwilling to buy milk or any other produce from her because of her medical status.

There was no trace of self pity here and Nookalamma was determined to be involved in a small business opportunity. In February we met up again and what a thrill to see Nookalamma involved in goat rearing and thriving. She now has a steady income to support her granddaughter and dream about her future.........thrilling.