Finolex Industries and Mukul Madhav Foundation have been working and supporting women empowerment in many ways. The United Nations observes 23 June as International Widows Day since 2011, to draw Global attention towards the voices of widows and to galvanize the unique support that they need. This day is followed at the Foundation to enhance and empower the lives of widows in our society.
Empowering widows and supporting their families also means addressing the stigma they face and to create inclusion in our society. Supporting and empowering widows gives her new life to survive and educate their children, to be a good citizen of society.
The pandemic has devastated the condition even more for these women. They have been cut off from their social economic and family supports and rely on others for support. In this situation widows and lone women needs urgent attention.
The Foundation has been supporting widows over the last 22 years in Pune at the Mahila Sewa Ashram and Maher in Pune by enhancing their personal wellbeing.
A need assessment and survey indicated that widows are in high numbers in Osmanabad. This is due to the scarcity of rainfall, drought and leading to an increase in the number of farmer suicides. 312 widows have been identified in the Vashi and Kalam taluka in Osmanabad and were provided with Soya and Tuvar Seeds. The process began with identifying, helping with land acquisitions, training them with the basic know-how of farming through Krishi Vighyan Kendra and enhancing their marketing and pricing skills. The harvest was sold in the nearby market place. 60 % of women are self-independent and has enabled them to pay their loans and send their children to school. In order to make this self-reliant seeds have been provided this year too to support them to be entrepreneurs on their own.
Alongside this, the Foundation has spread its wings to support 60 women out of which about 12 are widows have been supported in Srinagar with grocery kit comprising of Sugar and Mustard oil. 13 widows from Anusaya Mahila Ashram, Pawas, Ratnagiri have been supported with Kaftans, grocery and personal grooming kit.
Even after the national law exists for widows there has been a dearth in the situation that they are in. To deal with this situation the Foundation strives hard to ensure that the sustainable development goals are addressed and accelerated.
On this occasion, Mrs Ritu Prakash Chhabria, Trustee at Mukul Madhav Foundation said ‘This has provided an opportunity to create awareness in communities to mitigate the pain and address challenges faced by these women. We at the Foundation will look at serving the women in our society and enhance their well-being.”