The United Nations observes 23 June as International Widows Day 2020 today. This day is observed since 2011 to draw global attention towards the voices of widows and to galvanize the unique support they need. This day is followed at the Mukul Madhav Foundation and CSR of Finolex Industries in order to empower widows.
Empowering widows and supporting their families also means addressing the stigma they face and to make society more inclusive. Supporting and empowering widows gives her new life to survive and educate their children to be good citizens. The pandemic has devastated their lives; widows have been cut off from economic benefit and family support. In this situation, widows and lone women need urgent attention.
Mukul Madhav Foundation has been supporting widows over the last 22 years in Pune at the Mahila Sewa Ashram and Maher in Pune by enhancing their personal wellbeing. A needs assessment and survey indicated that widows are in high numbers in Osmanabad. This is due to the scarcity of rainfall and drought, leading to an increase in the number of farmer suicides. 312 widows were identified in the Vashi and Kalam taluka in Osmanabad and were provided with Soya and Tuvar Seeds.
The CSR project began with identifying, helping with land acquisition, training them in basic know-how of farming through Krishi Vighyan Kendra and enhancing their marketing and pricing skills. The harvest was sold in the nearby market place. 60% of the women are independent and are able to pay their loans and send their children to school.
The Foundation has spread its wings to support 60 women in Srinagar out of which about 12 are widows, with grocery kits. 13 widows from Anusaya Mahila Ashram, Pawas, Ratnagiri have been supported with kaftans, grocery and personal grooming kits.
Ritu Prakash Chhabria, Trustee at Mukul Madhav Foundation said, “This has provided an opportunity to create awareness in communities to mitigate the pain and address challenges faced by these women. We at the Foundation will look at serving the women in our society and enhance their well-being.”
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