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The Widow's Plight In India
Once upon a time in ancient India, a woman who lost her husband was struck with the inconsolable plight of bearing that grief for the rest of her life, if the community allowed her to live, that is. Today, remnants of these ancient practices remain woven into society. The burden a widow must carry varies throughout the country, with rural areas remaining among the worst places for a widow to live.
In some places, she will be considered in her community as a bearer of bad luck, unable to attend weddings or certain celebrations. In others, she will be forced to lay down her gold and colored clothes in exchange for a simple white sari, the marking of her shame. And still, in others, she will be stigmatized for not being able to protect her husband’s life well enough. Only a few lucky ones are able to remarry or at least live happily in their children’s homes.
In India, many widows are considered burdens on their family, and bearers of bad-luck.
Sunhala is a widow. When her husband passed away five years ago she faced many of the griefs mentioned above. No longer was she seen as a viable member of her household and the shame she experienced doubled upon her already grieving heart.
For several years, her daughter-in-law had been making handicrafts at home and earning a stable income. Sunhala noticed the way her daughter-in-law would always come home from weekly business meetings encouraged and inspired for the week ahead. She wanted to come along with her to see what her work was all about and wondered if she could do something too. She had never really experimented with her creative ability and was doubtful of any skills she might possess. Nevertheless, she was desperate for something and came to a meeting at The White Peacock one Monday afternoon.
How The White Peacock Impacted Sunhala's Life
Being surrounded by creative, kind women, many of whom were just like her, made Sunhala feel alive again. For the couple of hours she spent at The White Peacock, Sunhala didn’t feel like “the burden” or “the widow.” For a few hours, she just felt like herself again.
She received some guidance and explored her talents and creativity. She discovered that she had an amazing ability to crochet that she had never considered significant. She went home and crocheted doilies and coasters. After submitting her designs, she was floored to see they were a hit!
Now, Sunhala makes these lovely crocheted goods all week long. She says that she feels useful again and has found a renewed sense of purpose in being able to help her family financially. She looks forward to the Monday meetings all week long and has found many friends from the community of artisans.
Next time you place that pitcher of lemonade or tea on one of these beautiful coasters, remember Sunhala and her story. Together we can provide HOPE again to women in need around the world.
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