As there is nobody to speak on their behalf, the society in general considers widows as "public property". Society even requires the newly widowed women to participate in a degrading ceremony known as "untying of thali". The reason for this ceremony is that society does not want the presence of widows for any auspicious occasions.
Not only is the social classification applied to the widow, but her children too. When a widow's children make mistakes as any other children, they are magnified and the society degrades them by saying, "after all, it is a child brought up by a widow". If the daughter of a widow gets married she can be extremely ill-treated by the in-laws. There have also been occasions where the children of the widows, especially sons, completely abandon their mother and follow the intructions of their spouse. This abandonment leaves the widows heartbroken and even more devistated.
The widows have no one to share these problems with, leaving themselves completely withdrawn from their social life. They attribute all these hardships in their lives to fate and accept them. They don't dare to question or challenge them.
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.