Widows are percieved as public properties or "land without fence". If widows choose to get themselves dressed up well and go out, the people around would look at them suspiciously as if they were involved in some sort of immoral behavior. This social hostility not only dehumanizes the widow, but her children as well feel a sense of shame. As a result, widows don't get themselves dressed up and go out. The livliehood of the widows remails soley in their home because the cultural norms regarding appropriate behavior.
Widows are not expected to talk to any men, especially to strangers. If they decide to engage in such behavior, society views them as behaving immoral. Even when men come foward and help these widows, society questions their motives.
When widows seek help from men for various reasons such as getting assistance from the government, some men try to exploit them by seeking sexual favors. Widows are also abused sexually in the work place.
Friends of Kalangarai is a newly formed non-profit organization in the U.S. that supports the community-based programs of Kalangarai. These programs include micro-credit self-help groups, skills training, children’s educational programs, and a community college. More than 1000 widowed and abandoned women and their families participate in these programs.
Friends is currently raising funds for the educational programs for the children and young adults. The “How to Help” page provides information on how you can make a difference in the lives of these children and young people.