Leading faith-based humanitarian agency Gospel for Asia (GFA, www.gfa.org<http://www.gfa.org/> ), will provide crucial aid and spiritual support to hundreds of “shunned and shamed” widows to mark International Widows Day, Sunday, June 23.
“In some Asian cultures, when a woman’s husband dies, she is often stripped of her dignity, her worth, and her human rights,” said GFA founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan.
“Many of these widows are deprived of their home, their property, and their possessions – leaving them destitute. Lacking the ability to earn a living, and with no access to savings or credit, millions of widows all across Asia fight every day for their survival, all the while shunned and shamed. We must stand up for these forgotten outcasts and show them they are precious in God’s eyes.”
To honor International Widows Day, GFA-supported ministry teams across Asia will distribute sewing machines, goats, piglets, hygiene supplies, mosquito nets, sarees, and other essential items to help improve widows’ lives. The Sisters of Compassion teams – assembled by indigenous churches – will also bring spiritual encouragement to women who feel worthless and friendless.
“Nobody loves us,” said 50-year-old Yesoda, a widow in South Asia. “Even our own family members hate us and never care for us. But I thank (GFA) who has taken the initiative to honor the widows in our community.”
Anjola, a 45-year-old widow, said her family refused to buy her a mosquito net to protect her against malaria – but a GFA-supported women’s group from a local church came to her aid. “I thank God and the church for this wonderful gift,” she said.
GFA says that if all the widows in the world were gathered into one nation, they would make up the fourth-largest country on earth. The United Nations (UN) conservatively estimates one-in-10 of the world’s 250 million-plus widows lives in extreme poverty – facing abuse, discrimination and violence because they have no husband to protect them.
No other social group is affected more by “the sin of omission” than widows, says the UN’s 2018 report on International Widows Day. “They are painfully absent from the statistics of many developing countries, and are rarely mentioned in reports on women’s poverty, development, health or human rights published in the last 25 years,” the UN states, adding that newly-widowed women are even being killed by family members wanting to get their hands on the inheritance.
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SOURCE: Assist News