Today, 8th March 2010, marks the centenary year of International Women’s Day and Women Without Roofs – Nepal would like you to invite you to remember all the women in Nepal we help. Recently we have begun supporting several new women and this is a story about just one of them:
Uma with her family
She is 31 yrs old and has 3 children. 11 yrs daughter, 7 yrs boy and 6 years boy. Her husband left her about 5 yrs ago and took her 6 yrs son with him. Her husband has another wife. Now she is living with just 2 of her children. She works at a carpet factory and lives in one room and cooks on a kerosene stove and has no good bedding for sleep. Her daughter goes to school but she does not have money for her 7 yrs boy to go to school, so he does not go to school. She needs also support from WWR.
Womenswear for WWR
Renee, one of our trustees, will shortly be leaving for a visit to Kathmandu and it would be fantastic if she could take some gifts to the women who have so little. Almost all of the women have never owned new clothes and we would love to provide them this basic luxury, that we take for granted. We would be hugely grateful, if you our supporters, could purchase just one new item of clothing, perhaps a t-shirt, pair of socks or cardigan and send it to Renee (or give to Anna or Marilyn) for her to take to the women. Perhaps you could select something for them next time you do your supermarket shop, it need not be expensive, for instance M&S sell fairtrade t-shirts for just £5.
1. Clothing should be between the UK sizes of 10 to 16 and sizes 12 and 14 would be most useful.
2. Clothing should be new, we know you probably have lots of 2nd-hand clothing we could pass on, but we would really like to treat the women to something new and Renee only has limited space in her luggage allowance.
3. The women in general wear Nepali clothes and so it would be most useful for them to have something they could layer such as a t-shirt or cardigan.
4. The deadline for clothing items to reach Renee is Friday 19th March. Please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for the address to send items to.
5. Should you wish to hand Marilyn (in Reading) or Anna (in Watchfield, nr Swindon) the items for them to post on with other garments that have been collected, then the deadline is Monday 15th March. Please e-mail email@example.com for their addresses also.
6. If you sponsor a specific woman and would like the garment to go particularly to her then please write her name and yours on the label.
Thank you so much for you support. We really do appreciate it and know that it makes such a huge difference to the lives of the women in Nepal, all of whom burst into tears whenever we give them a gift! Please do not hesitate to get in contact with us if you have any questions.
If you have a spare 25 minutes please make time to watch the latest edition of Unreported World on Channel 4, it is available to view at the ‘4On Demand’ website for the next 27 days (until 13th December 2009). I warn you though, it will make you cry.
The presenter Yemi Ipaye visits a number of child widows living in the South-West of the country. Their situations are desperate. One girl was married at 11 and widowed at 13. She was married off at a young age because the dowry paid by the parents is less the younger the bride is. Now she is viewed as a burden by her parents who beat and verbally abuse her; she will not be married again as she is now perceived as being bad luck and is blamed for the death of her husband. Like many widows she may need to resort to prostitution to provide for herself.
The Hindu belief in reincarnation makes it clear that bad luck in this life is determined by past sins in a previous life. Therefore young widows are ostracised by society and insulted, they are treated as if they were evil and are isolated and become the ‘living dead’, the title of the program. In the past in Nepal sati was practiced. This is the ritual suicide of a wife when her husband dies. It was carried out by the widow climbing onto the funeral pyre of her husband and burning alive. The practice was outlawed across Nepal and India a century ago but the prejudice and stigma that enforced it remains today. It seems that a widow’s life is worth nothing.
A widow in Kathmandu described how she had been asked to leave her home when her landlord discovered she was a widow. Now she no longer tells anyone, simply lying that her husband is working overseas. She is impoverished and has had to send her two children to an orphanage because she can not look after them.
Women Without Roofs supports women that are on their own either because they are widowed or their husband is missing. Please help us to help more women like these.
Renee has arrived safely in Kathmandu, Nepal and has so far seen Bidya and Shova who are the pastor and his wife that run the Cyrene course for us. The course teaches women to sew, read and write which hopefully leads to them being able to run a small business from home. She has shown the ladies from the course a purse that we hope they can copy; we will be able to sell them back here in the UK to raise funds.