India 2015

Painting at the table


“Florence Home” – Our second Old Age Home building – space for another 13 women


I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you did during this past year: your enthusiasm to help, your kind work, your blessings and wish that the world may become a better one for the widows, your donations  and at the same time  want to share all the important news with you.

First of all the sad one:

Sagunthala is our first inhabitant of Om Shanthi Home, who died two weeks ago. She was on Dialyse treatment regularly a long time already in our hospital in Tiruvannamalai and had to go to regular check-ups to Pondicherry. She was so full of life, always happy, teaching Kalpana our deaf and dump young lady, and all of us to dance. Nobody of her family and her village came to her funeral. So Manoharan did all the necessary ceremonial acts  like a son, and many men from Shanthimalai and our village were present, as you can see on the foto. It seems that widows are shunned even after death. What a release for all our women to see, that their bodies will be taken care of as well in future.

Some days earlier I read by accident, that Monarch-butterflies might carry the soul of a deceased being to submit a message. What joy for me to see a Monarch the day of Sagunthalas funeral circling a long time in front of my window through the flowerbush. Suddenly it struck me like a flash of lightening: Sagunthala wants to thank us all for her well being in the last happy two years of her life in Om Shanthi Home. So I pass her gratitude over to you. I hope our work will go on, creating help and support and finally a new consciousness dealing with female matters in a patriarchalic system.

 Now the good news:

Our second Om Shanthi Old Age Home on the same ground like the first, which has been started in February 2015, is ready and was inaugurated the 20th of this months.  All your kind donations added to accomplish this house in a fantastic short time. It´s name “Florence Home” is to honour Florence, who was critical in completing the house after her daughter had visited our project last winter. We are all full of gratitude for your kind help to create these additional beds for another 13 old women in need.

Our old kitchen of 20 square feet has been enlarged to double of its size, so that we can easily prepare food for 30 women (25 residents and 5 caretaking women, who are also women without male support.)

Now we can start replanting our organic vegetables again: carrots, spinach, beans, beets, tomatoes and some Indian veggies. We also had huge pumpkins, bananas and lots of papayas. And last not least beautiful flowers. I wait for the day, when the first of our widows will agree to wear a flower in her hair. This will mean tradition has lost its heavy grip on them, because they are not allowed to do so.

Our work- and councelling program for young widows and women in desperate conditions is also developing due to your kind donations in a wonderful way.

Our two social workers write applications for the widow-government- pension for  ALL  widows, that are in need. This work is  very effective.

Last year our partner Shanthimalai Handicrafts reopened its handweaving section after a long pause about 10 years. Many of our widows like to be trained here, others are trained and work to create all sorts of handicraft-items like  beautiful handmade angels, sari-dolls or other toys. Vallie for example is happy in a newly opened pre-school class in Shanthimalai Highschool. So we try to find the best possible way for young widows to earn their future living successfully and happily. We also take care for the education of their children, their housing and their medical treatment and protect them from abuse.

All this is only possible with your kind help and donations, which will hopefully continue to flow.

Many American and German donors have been visiting our widow-project in Tiruvannamalai in the meantime and have experienced the love, the gratitude and happy athmosphere in our project. The question sometimes comes up: Why can´t  Old Age Homes in our home countries be so full of happiness? Maybe this is due to the deep suffering of the widows before they came into our house. When they come to us, this simple normal life is a paradise for them. We would be happy to welcome you in our project in India.

Thank you again and again so much for your past support. It is helping to change the world for Indian women in need in poor rural districts in Tamil Nadu:  Young and old widows and desperate women with their children. Your continued support is much appreciated.

Lots of loves and a very big hug to you from Anna