India (MNN) — Earlier this month, our friends at India Partners shared a great gift idea for Mother’s Day: sponsoring a sewing machine for a woman in India so she can support her family. Today, we’re sharing another way to celebrate this Sunday — you could sponsor a widow in India.
Donna Glass of India Partners says widows in India don’t typically receive much help, even if they cannot work. She says, “If they do not have family members who can care for them so they have a place to live, then they are often times reduced to begging.”
And adding insult to injury, people who face the tragedy of losing their husband are often shunned because people think they are cursed. This means the likelihood of remarrying is low.
The ostracism can be even worse, Glass says, if they haven’t been able to have children — that’s looked at as a curse, too. And then there’s this: “The plight of the Christian widow is even worse in many cases, because they might have family who could support them, but because they have become Christians, they are cast out.”
On a trip to India years ago, Glass met several widows at a church dedication. These women knew if they renounced their faith, their family might help support them again. But to them, that wasn’t a true option.
“They had such strong faith that that was not an option for them. They continued to stand strong in their faith even if it reduced them to begging from door-to-door, village-to-village,” Glass explains.
Right now, there are 20 women up for sponsorship through India Partners’ program. One of them is named Pushpa. She lost her husband 11 years ago. Her daughters have all married and moved away. Pushpa is currently trying to take care of her elderly father-in-law, but is struggling to make ends meet. A sponsor could ensure she has all of her needs met!
Why Mother’s Day?
The fact is, these women face insecurity every day — for food, shelter, clothing, and more. They don’t have the benefits of a society like ours: education that opens up job opportunities, savings plans, and assistance. For one reason or another, work is hard to find or impossible to do.
By supporting a widow through sponsorship, you can support her as if you were her family. What better way to say “thank you” to your mom than by giving out of your abundance to a woman who doesn’t have her own children to spend this day with?
Glass says, “I suggest a person thinks about helping a woman in India who may not have children who can help her, who may have had a husband who abandoned her, whose husband has died and never had any money to leave for her to build up a support system for her so she could survive on her own.”
And, she continues, this sponsorship is a direct response to Jesus’ call for us to help the widow and the orphan. While most of the women in the program are Christians, some are not. In this way, it becomes a way to exemplify the Gospel and share it.
If you feel led to sponsor a widow, you can sign up for a monthly gift of $35 or for $420 for the whole year. What an amazing gift to give on Mother’s Day, for every single one of these women to be sponsored by the end of the weekend!
And, even if you choose not to sponsor, could you pray for these women? Ask God to strengthen them in their faith, and that they would be joyful witnesses to their community about the love of Jesus.