Varanasi is one of India’s holiest cities. Thousands of pilgrims come to this city to bathe and wash away their sins in the holy Ganges River. Hindus believe that if they die in this city then they will go straight to Nirvana (heaven), which is one of the reasons why so many widows stay here.
Another reason is that many of those who come to Varanasi on pilgrimage leave their widows behind so that the families don’t have to take care of them any more.
For these reasons the city is crowded with widows living on the streets and having no one to care for them—an estimated 20,000 of them. Many survive by begging or by prostitution. Some have even lost their sanity from these desperate living conditions. In James 1:27 it says that God wants us to take care of widows so that they will have a better life.
In 1997 God spoke to us about the widows of Varanasi. He told us to build a home for them where some can live in dignity and others can come to earn a living.
Our vision is to help these widows by housing 50 of them who are in desperate circumstances, to help them and the children who often accompany them. We also want to equip 1500 younger widows with marketable skills, so that they can earn a decent income and experience the Hope that they never had.
We know this will take time, a lot of staff, finances and knowledge. We have built the home and have started taking in widows.
As widows are very much on God’s heart, we are committed to showing and telling them the message of His love and teaching skills which will enable them to return to society. We see the widows as individuals, precious in the eyes of God and we want to treat them with that same respect—not as mere numbers in an institution.
Today we have 25 widows living with us. We have trained and employed almost 100 widows in various income-generating projects and have opened a small shop for selling some of their products.
• Our goal is to have 50 widows living in our home. We want to house widows who are currently living on the streets—especially those who are sick, disabled or have mental problems.
• Our goal is to employ 1500 widows by 2015. Widows come daily to learn and earn through various microenterprises like handicrafts, tailoring, soap making, candle making, baking, peanut butter and jam making, and jewelry making. All these products are sold in a shop in front of the widows’ home, and at other locations as well. In this way we have started Hope Arts, a Dutch Bakery, and many other microenterprise shops.
• Youth with a Mission (YWAM) will also use the Widows' Home to run various training schools and seminars.
• Children’s Ministry will be a part of this home because widows often come with small children.
• The Widows’ Home is also a place where our staff can live together with the widows to help them more effectively.
|Your contribution means we can continue to help widows.
Support us today.
Donations to the Widows of Varanasi may be transferred to the account of:
"Vriendenkring Kym/Margreet", Balk, the Netherlands
account # 220.127.116.119
IBAN: NL70 INGB 0656 5458 79
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