I lost my father when I was three years old. As I grew older, I saw the challenges widow’s and their children experience. Pained by my mother’s struggles, which she never expressed, I was determined to gift my mother a better life.
I had to sacrifice my dreams of becoming an engineer mainly due to the lack of funds. I landed a decent job after completing my graduation in Commerce. After I settled in Pune, I brought my mother here to give her a comfortable life.
I founded Mitti Ke Rang (MKR) in 2014 widows empowerment, to provide them resources and support. I have vision a world where all the single women and widows are accepted by their family and in a society where they will be free to (re)build their own Life.
Through MKR we are trying to bring a permanent change in the lives of widows and fatherless children. Inspired by my mother’s unfailing support, which is working in countries across the globe.
We are working with widowed women, organising skill-based workshops for them like Rangoli designing, cloth and paper bag making, creating idols for the upcoming Ganpati festival, and handcrafting Diwali gifts.
It was a moment of great pride when some of these women were offered regular work by an event management company, to do Rangoli at different cultural events. Also recently we have received an order for clothes bags which will give them an employment opportunity.
The other segment of Project Widows is to make these women aware of their rights and benefits; guiding them with the necessary paperwork to avail services from banks and other government offices. “We also have occasional visits from our foreign counterparts for cultural exchange programmes, who teach the women to read and write.”
For the children who have lost their fathers, Mitti Ke Rang has started a community centre with a library. Every evening, over 30 children in the age group of 6 to 16, are taught to read. Recently, Project Reading has integrated uneducated widows and senior citizens from low-income backgrounds.
The organisation is now successfully working in nine states in India and 10 countries across the globe. We now have centres in Pakistan, Zambia, Gambia, Kenya, France, Spain, Fiji, Nepal and of course India, with our primary centres at Pune and Hadapsar.
(This story is from the #BestofKindnessMatters series by UNESCO MGIEP, which is a part of the larger campaign on #KindnessMatters for the SDGs. It has been republished with permission.)