Blog

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.

Poornima
is 32 and mother of 2 boys.  Poornima sells sarees at home and in the local market.  Her future is much brighter.
Santhakumari
is 59 and has 1 son.  She has diversified into fish/flour sales and doing very well.
Devi
is 33 and mother to 2 girls.  She runs a tailoring business.  This is providing a steady income.
Rani
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.

Hameeda
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.
Sarali
is 48 and has 1 son and 4 grandchildren.
This widow has a thriving goat business and she couldn’t be happier.
Heera
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.
Durga
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.

THE NEW MADE FOR MORE CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES IN MAY.



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.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT GROUP  
globaldevelopment.org.au
Visit our website for further information www.thewidowscause.com



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QU: Great strength comes from great Struggle

Quarterly Update
Q1 / 2018
Someone described India “as an assault on the senses…  a riot of sights, sounds, flavours and sensations.”
Many would say it’s an assault on the emotions when one begins to discover the hidden injustices faced by many Indian women especially widows in that land.

The young woman in the photo lives on the sidewalk with her family in Southern India.  She can only dream about a better future for her kids.
In the accounts below these widows have faced many struggles that have produced great inner strength.
We honour them and The Widows’ Cause considers it a privilege to play a small part in turning their worlds around.

Chithra aged 38 a victim of domestic violence is mum to two teenage boys.  She has raised them on her own for many years.  Chithra works as a maid in three different households during the day – starting at 7am and finishing at 7.30pm with only a short break.
It has been a constant struggle for this family of three.  They still live in one room, but it is larger and has better ventilation than past accommodation.  Karthik, the eldest son is studying at College.  TWC provided a loan to help with his College fees.  Their situation is definitely improving.
Mkannamma a widow aged 70 runs a “Tiffin” business which provides breakfast from 6am to workers starting early and then dinner from 4pm onwards.  Her motto is “good quality food” and that is why Mkannamma’s business is flourishing.
Last year she tripped and broke her arm.  Her granddaughter stepped in and ran the Tiffin shop in the interim.  Mkannamma is back working.  TWC provided a loan to expand her business… no early retirement for her.
Suseela aged 52 runs a flower shop in her local market.  Abandoned by her husband many years ago, her immediate future was looking bleak.  Suseela has battled through, remaining steady to provide for her daughter.
TWC has provided a loan to enlarge her business and she is faithfully paying back the monthly instalments. It makes it all so worthwhile
Durga is 27 and lives in a village outside Indore.  She was widowed six years ago and is a mother of two.  One can only imagine the struggles, pain and vulnerability she has experienced.
Durga works as a field labourer to provide for her family.  TWC has provided Durga with a small loan to buy two goats.  She is thrilled as in time the herd will increase giving her consistent income through milk, meat and offspring.
Her future is looking much brighter.
LEFT: Pre Loan                                                          RIGHT: Post Loan
Kamli is 35 and mother to three children.  Widowed at 23 and destined to live a lonely life how desperate Kamli must have felt.  She has worked at different labouring jobs to earn an income.
TWC has provided Kamli with a loan to start up a shop in her local community selling rice, flour, dahl and other commodities.  We are excited to see the poverty cycle broken over her life and that of her children.
LEFT: Pre Loan                                                          RIGHT: Post Loan
Mainda is 48, has four children who she has raised on her own for the last three years.  She has to work long days out in the fields to feed and clothe her family.  Mainda has seized the opportunity provided by TWC to go into the goat business.  As seen in the photo she is delighted and will work hard to make the most of this new business venture.
Mainda hopes to provide a better future for her children.
LEFT: Pre Loan                                                          RIGHT: Post Loan
The Widows’ Cause has impacted

109 widows and their families in 2017
through a repayable loan system.

We are one team working on two continents.  We recognise the importance of working to one’s strengths, respecting and encouraging each other and clearly understanding our purpose as we push forward in 2018.
A big thank you to Global for their expertise, support and the way they have linked us with very good teams on the ground in India.

We look forward to building on our relationships with the local teams in Chennai and Indore.
TWC will be exploring new opportunities in 2018.  Together we can do so much more and thank you for your generosity we couldn’t do this without you.

Kind regards
Gay and the TWC team.

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.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT GROUP  
globaldevelopment.org.au
Visit our website for further information www.thewidowscause.com
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The Widows Cause : Quarterly Update 08

Progress

The Widows’ Cause team are ecstatic that the first group of 33 widows in Indore were financed into small businesses through a repayable loan scheme in late April as seen in the photos below.

We all deserve a healthy future but these widows like so many have just been SURVIVING.  In order to THRIVE they need the chance to make a living. The vision of TWC is to provide an opportunity for a healthier future in every sense.  Our hope is that each widow will grasp it, run with it and in time break the crippling cycle of poverty in her life.
We are fully committed to their well being.

In March along with the leadership team in Indore the widows participated in a 2 day training event.  Here they learnt the benefits of working in a team, accountability, what is micro-enterprise development and bookkeeping.
Training and supervision will be ongoing for the length of the loan.
The widows have been given initial loans that range from $200 – $250 depending on their business.  There is the understanding that when a loan is repaid should they want to expand their business there would be the possibility of a further loan after assessment.

Profiles

SEEMA 

Aged 40 and widowed five years ago has been working long hours for little income as a field labourer to support her three children.  Life has been very tough.  Although there will be no immediate income from her newly acquired goat business that will change in the future.  Goats give birth twice a year and are very valuable for their meat, milk and offspring.

TULSI 
Aged 32 and widowed just six months ago. She is the mother of four and is desperate to provide a stable future for her kids.  She has been working in a bottle re-cycling plant for $2 per day.  She has started a vege stall with her repayable loan and we will be cheering her on all the way.
SHANTA 

Aged 70 and widowed just six months ago is in another season of life.  She has two grown children and trying to survive on a Government pension of $3 per month.  TWC is delighted to offer her this business opportunity of raising hens and selling off their eggs.  It will provide a steady income and also peace of mind.

JEEJA
Aged 58 and widowed eight years ago is the mother of five children.  Life has been busy and the future bleak.  Jeeja will work hard at making her vege stall a success, thus providing a regular income for her large family.
HEERA 
Aged 38 was deserted by her husband ten years ago. She has been working hard in a sewing sweatshop to provide a living for herself and child. Heera is a natural leader in her community and well respected.  With her loan she is starting up a small interlocking business and hopes to expand in time.
We have another group of around 30 widows outside of Indore that are awaiting this same opportunity.  TWC will be looking to do that in the next three months.  There is also a group of 50 widows in Chennai that are being assessed at this present time.  TWC will be looking to start up a project in that city as details come to hand.
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.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT GROUP  
globaldevelopment.org.au
Visit our website for further information www.thewidowscause.com
Facebook
Website
Copyright © *the Widows’ Cause, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:

[email protected]

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:-

Lakshmi

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

Simhachalam

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

Appalakonda

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.

Venkatalaxmi

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

DONATE
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
Visit our website for further information www.thewidowscause.com


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.

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Quarterly Update #2 – profiles

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

Suicide

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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

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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.

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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.
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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.

 brokenroad_web

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.

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