8,000 Isolated Women Honored on International Widows Day
WILLS POINT, Tex., July 1, 2016 / Christian News Service / – Workers supported by Gospel for Asia (GFA) recently supplied more than 8,000 widows in Asia with gifts of food, kitchen equipment and income-producing livestock and equipment on International Widows’ Day.
“More than 40 million widows are often shunned by their families and communities, even as they provide for their children,” said K.P. Yohannan, founder and international director of GFA. “While on earth, Jesus told us to care for widows and we seek to obey His command by praying for these precious sisters and helping them in practical ways, that they may experience the grace of God in their daily struggles.”
In all, over 8,000 widows in 26 villages and districts received aid via GFA-supported ministry partners. One widow said, “One of my daughters knows how to use [the sewing machine]. I hope that it will greatly help our family earn some money.”
Other widows received income-producing livestock, such as cows or goats, or income-producing equipment, such as sewing machines or rickshaws. Other gifts included home living supplies, such as kitchen equipment and toilets; colorful dresses intended to bestow honor on widows; and sandals designed for leprosy victims.
In Asia, younger widows commonly resort to begging or prostitution to survive, while others gather food from trash. The healthy sometimes work in fields for sustenance, while the desperate sometimes resort to suicide.
“Since my husband passed away, I am helpless and barely staying in a mud house,” said a 40-year-old widow. “Every rainy season I have to go and sleep next to my home because everywhere there is a leak.”
She received tin roofing material to protect her home from the elements.
Gift distributions will continue into July, and GFA-supported workers are setting up new centers to help widows on a continuing basis.
The United Nations first acknowledged June 23 as International Widows’ Day in 2011 to raise awareness about the poverty, alienation, violence, homelessness, health problems and human rights issues faced by widows around the world. Nearly half of the 245 million widows worldwide live in extreme poverty. GFA seeks to uphold the dignity of widows by meeting their physical and spiritual needs.
Gospel for Asia has – for more than 30 years – provided humanitarian assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially among those who have yet to hear the Good News. Last year, this included more than 75,000 sponsored children, free medical services for more than 180,000 people, 6,000 wells drilled, 11,000 water filters installed, Christmas presents for more than 400,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For more information, go to www.gfa.org.