This project provides economic empowerment for 40 widows in a remote village in rural Uttarakhand. The widows will be split into two groups. One group will be given agricultural equipment and seeds, and taught how to maximise their outputs, and the women in the other group will each be given a goat and taught how to take care of it. Each group will also be provided with business training and networks to sell to, enabling the women to maximise their returns and avoid being taken advantage of. Finally, each widow will receive assistance to allow one of her children to attend school, an unheard of luxury in their current poverty. The expectation is they will eventually be able to send all their children to school as their financial situation improves.
WHAT WE LIKE ABOUT IT
While this is a pilot project, our partners have put a lot of thought into the design, identifying key risks and ways of mitigating these. Our partners are also passionate about restoring the widows to positions of respect within their communities, by giving them financial independence. Widows in rural India are the lowest of the low, and are often excluded from community events and never given assistance or shown they have worth. Our partners are not just seeking improved financial stability, but culture change within the community.
The budget provides for tools and equipment, goats and project managers/trainers in each stream. It also provides for school fees for 40 children.
As mentioned above, widows occupy a very precarious position in rural Indian communities. Often the villagers turn on a widow, claiming that she ‘ate her husband’. She is often stripped of her land and taken advantage of by traders and buyers. Hers is lowest position in society, and she is last to be included in any event, if included at all. All of this often means that widows are also extremely poor, struggling to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads.