Sunday, December 6, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
White Rainbow Project
The holy city of Vrindavan India, also known as the “City of Widows” harbors nearly 20,000 widows who flock there or are abandoned on the streets all in the hopes of finding “Moksha” – Salvation. In Indian society widows are stigmatized and maligned.
The White Rainbow Project (WRP) is a US faith based non-profit organization dedicated to caring for the widows of Vrindavan, and to allow Americans the opportunity to grow and mature spiritually by helping the poor and downtrodden in tangible ways through service trips, fundraising and widow sponsorship.
Using the feature film “White Rainbow” as a tool to educate, motivate and inspire others to get involved and help, the WRP plans to host screenings at universities, college campuses, churches, women’s groups and humanitarian group meetings. These events we will promote the service trips, raise funds for ongoing projects and sign up people to become sponsors.
The WRP is partnering with the Guild of Service a non-governmental organization based out of New Delhi India. The protagonist in the film “White Rainbow” is based on the work of the Guild’s founder, Dr. Mohini Giri. The Guild has already established a widow’s shelter in Vrindavan India which has room to house 500 widows. The Guild is active in rehabilitating the widows, giving them hope, and a safe place to live. They are training some for careers in nursing and have recently partnered with The Miracle Foundation to train widows to be certified caregivers in orphanages.
The 10 day service trips will be a journey that will be both educational and life changing. The participants are expected to learn about India, Hinduism and the stigma surrounding widowhood. They are expected to reach out to friends for support so as to get many others involved in their journey. Through their trip many others will come to know about the plight of the widows. The activities on the trip range from visiting the Taj Mahal to ministering to widows by cleaning, cooking and entertaining them. Showing them that someone cares, to be the hands and feet of Christ.
Other fundraising activities will include finding donors that will provide ongoing sponsorship for the care and maintenance of the widows and for providing funds for educational opportunities. The WRP also plans to host medical clinics and food and clothing distribution for the thousands of widows that are living on the streets of Vrindavan. It is our desire that the city of Vrindavan will be forever changed for the better and that it will no longer be a place of servitude and bondage for these women!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
After reading about the plight of the widows of Vrindavan in Homeless Bird and then learning more of the facts after reading numerous news articles, We were convinced that more people needed to know about these women who were living in the shadows -and who by no fault of their own - were shunned from society and deemed worthless. My husband, Dharan, grew up in the South Indian film industry. His uncle, Sivaji Ganesan, was one of India's greatest film icons, starring in over 300 films during his illustrious career. Having already produced several Indian films and also directing our first collaboration, Ele, My Friend, Dharan was convinced that this story needed to be told using the powerful medium of film. We hoped this would bring the attention these women deserved, as more and more people would come to know about the "City of Widows".
Using stories gleaned from interviews that the Guild of Service had conducted from over 4000 widows, common patterns began to emerge, Dharan used the common themes to create four characters. Pryia, the central character, was loosely based on Mohini Giri's own story of empowering the widows and giving them hope. Roop was based on the numerous other widows who had been thrown out by their families. Mala was based on several women who pretend to be widows so that they can escape abusive husbands and in-laws, and young Deepti was based on the collective stories of young widows who were lured to Vrindavan on false pretenses and then used as prostitutes.
Writing the screenplay was the first step on our long journey... I will fill in the details in future posts - but for now I just want to focus on ways to make a tangible difference for these women. I want to use this film which was a passion project, to kindle a passion in others, to make a difference. I feel that God is calling me to use my life experience to show His love and compassion for these unfortunate women. If you feel it - then join with me and encourage others to get involved so that positive changes can be made! My good friend, whose husband organizes medical trips to Haiti, encouraged me to start service trips to Vrindavan after she watched White Rainbow. I'm going to take her up on her challenge. Besides starting my own trips - I want to highlight and raise funds for other groups that are already doing so much for the poor and downtrodden of the world. The ones that are unjustly treated. Please email me or comment on this blog if you know of groups that I can promote.
Monday, August 3, 2009
The Guild of Service first set up a refuge called Amar Bari, or "My Home," in Vrindavan. It became a refuge for about 120 of India's widows. They have just recently opened a second home Ma-Dham, a home for both young and old widows in Vrindavan. It has a capacity for 500 women. A small hospital is available on the premises, as well as a center for practical medical/nursing training and education. The older women who live here find a safe refuge with a healthy environment, and dignity of human life. They are taught some basic cottage industry skills to keep their hands and feet moving. The younger women are taught valuable skills for earning so that they can take control of their lives. These skills range from nurses' training, to improving computer skills, to training in embroidery skills, etc. The Guild of Service is making great strides in helping these women, but much more still needs to be done. As Dr. Giri states "mine is but a drop in the bucket."
My goal is to work with the Guild of Service to raise needed funds and to start Service Trips so that people from all over the world can get involved and help these forgotten women. Please contact me if you want to learn how you can get involved!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Reading this book has encouraged me to continue in my fight to get the message out about the unfair and unjust treatment that many widows in India face.
Saturday, July 18, 2009