Low-caste widows and orphans living in abject poverty might feel overwhelmed with hopelessness, but Global Pearls is working to change the story.

While the JONG projects we support in 50 low-caste villages of southern India focus primarily on education and maternal healthcare, orphan and widow care is also an important goal. Selvamani, for example, is a 35-year-old widow. Her husband, a field laborer, died in a road accident shortly after she gave birth to their third child. With no ability to earn an income to pay for the food, clothing, medical, and educational needs of her children, let alone the rent for their mud hut, she was planning to commit suicide in her desperation and sorrow. Upon learning of her situation and plans, Martin, the project director for JONG, stepped in to help.

There are many, many widows and orphans in JONG’s project area in similar situations. Human decency and compassion compel us to respond, yet fostering dependency runs counter to Global Pearls’ principles. Martin is therefore working to transition the orphan program from monthly stipends to economic empowerment. He is working with one widow/caregiver at a time to identify an appropriate path to grow their income-earning capacity.

Selvamani, for example, was given tailoring training and a sewing machine. She is now earning the income she needs to provide her children with nutritious food, healthcare, and education. Hope and self-worth have replaced her earlier sense of despair. One widow/caregiver at a time Martin is replicating this process until all our orphans are off the dole. We are thrilled to be partnering with him to transform lives from abject poverty and hopelessness to ones with bright and productive and INDEPENDENT futures.