Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reading Homeless Bird Started This Journey...

In 2003 my son Shan, who was in sixth grade at the time, brought home his reading assignment- the book "Homeless Bird" by Gloria Whelan. I was curious about the book because I noticed that it took place in India. I started to read it with him and my other children in the evenings. The story captivated me and I couldn't put it down. It told the story of a 13 year old girl who was forced to marry and then suddenly widowed and dumped by her in-laws in the holy city of Vrindavan...aka "The City of Widows". I was shocked. How could people be so callous. Just because the young girl was a widow she was considered to have no value. The story took place in modern day India, not in the past... when you may expect these kinds of injustices to occur. I wanted to find out if this could really be true, if this kind of thing really happened. I asked Dharan, my husband, who was born and raised in India. He said that he knew that there were many stigmas attached to widowhood, but he did not know about the brutal treatment described in the story. We decided to do a quick check on the Internet. We typed in VRINDAVAN. Up came glorious stories about the thousands of temples. We narrowed our search to WIDOWS OF VRINDAVAN. Then we saw hundreds of articles about the the thousands of widows that are abandoned on the streets of Vrindavan every year. Reading through the articles and news reports made us determined that something should be done. These women were suffering silently. We were certain that if people knew about their plight, then positive change would take place and these cruel practices really would be a thing of the past!


  1. All it takes is one person to raise her voice. It is interesting to note that your husband, "who was born and raised in India" had no idea about how bad the situtation was. I think that's true for many things all over the world. Unacceptable situations remain buried and unknown until one person with a passion for truth carries it into the light for all the world to see! Keep going!

  2. Hello! I am so happy that you found my blog (decor amor). I LOVE what you do. My boyfriend and I hope to get married and move to India for a year (or more) and serve and help the widows of Vrindavan. We are interested in what you do! Do you serve through an organization? We are really excited to have found another couple with a similar calling! :)

    Feel free to email me with your story when you have a chance :)

  3. Hi Ashley,
    Thank you for contacting me! I am starting to organize service trips with The Guild of Service which has a large widow's home in Vrindavan. We are hoping to have the first trip planned for the Spring of 2010. Please spread the word about my blog and my film "White Rainbow". You can learn more about the film at my website I will email you so that we can network together! It is great to connect with like minded people!
    Best wishes!