In response to God’s call to care for widows (James 1:27, Isaiah 1:17), we plan to establish a home for widows with various ministries such as children’s outreach, training and microenterprises to compliment the work. The objective is to see a complete change in society where widows are respected and are considered valuable. In order for this to happen there needs to be a transformation of the whole “person” – physically, emotionally, and spiritually (the full Gospel). We believe transformation can only come through a saving knowledge of Christ.
Not only is caring for widows very much on God’s heart, but we believe that caring for widows is an effective weapon of spiritual warfare to break the power of the devil over Varanasi and this nation where people have been oppressed and placed in bondage. It specifically comes against the root spirits of selfishness and pride which are so prevalent in society. This home is to be a place of disciplining and training where different skills can be imparted to help people to be self-employed and to give them a sense of value. Widows with physical or mental needs can reside here and spend their time in peace and dignity. Biblical instruction and counseling will be given to help people grow in the knowledge of Christ. Many of the widows have small children accompanying them so we believe children’s ministry needs to be an important part of this home. Many children are growing up without any Godly input. The basic values for life are developed in the early years so we feel responsible to ensure that children are given a chance to develop strong foundations. Apart from being a place for widows, this home is also to be a place where various YWAM schools and seminars will be run for Christian workers to grow spiritually and learn skills needed for their respective ministries. As this is a ministry of YWAM VARANASI we commit to follow the foundational values of YWAM.
As widows are very much on God’s heart, we are committed to show God’s love through the two-handed Gospel - by disciplining them and in a practical way providing them with skills to help them to fit back into society. We see the widows as individuals, precious in the eyes of God and desire to treat them with that same respect, not as mere numbers in an institution. We plan to have widows living in the home as well as widows coming in daily to learn and earn through various micro enterprises i.e. pickle, peanut butter and jam making, baking, tailoring, etc. These articles will be sold in a shop, which will be located on the same property and in other venues. As well as being a place to cater for the needs of widows, it will also be used to run various training schools and seminars. hildren’s ministry will be a part of this home especially as some widows will come with small children. It is to be a place where staff can live comfortably with the students and widows to enable them to minister more effectively. There will also be apartments where YWAM staff can come and stay for a short time to get refreshed. Initially we will build only the first floor as time and finances permit. We are planning a 3-4 story building. In the beginning the upper floors will be used for other YWAM training programs, but the first priority will be for the widows. When there are enough widows to fill the entire building, we will move the training programs to another location.
After the completion of the widow’s home our objectives are as follows:
· In the first year, we hope to serve a maximum of 10 widows.
· The second year we want to accept up to 30 widows.
· By the fifth year, we want to be serving 500 widows.
· By the tenth year, we want to expand to 1,550 widows.
(For both employment and residence) The initial widows will play a key role in the foundation of the home. These women will be capable, older widows (preferably Christians) who we can train as staff. Because of their age and life experiences, they will have better insight into women’s needs and be able to act as role models. At present we have some widows we are in contact with, who we are hoping can be trained into leadership roles. In the early stages we will employ professionals to be involved with our income-generation program, to ensure that the products are of good quality. They will equip the widows with skills in tailoring, making preserves and peanut butter. We will then provide employment for the women in these areas. They will be employed as full-time workers and paid a respectable income giving them dignity and self–respect. As the number of widow’s involved increases, so will our employment opportunities. At present, we have staff in training to become more specialized in our target employment areas. We are also in the process of establishing connections with shops throughout the city, where we hope to market our products, as well as in our own shop on the widows’ home property. This will give us a greater coverage and therefore better sales. This is a non-profit organization. All profit made from the sales will be reinvested into the work, primarily to pay the widows’ salaries.