Monday, August 3, 2009

The Guild of Service-Helping Widows others have Forgotten

While doing our reasearch on the plight of the widows of Vrindavan, one organization stood out as a beacon of hope for these helpless and shunned widows-The Guild of Service-Started by one woman, a widow herself, Dr. Mohini Giri . Losing her husband when she was 50, Dr. Giri endured the social humiliation that comes with being a widow. At times, she was asked not to attend weddings because her presence was considered bad luck. "Generally all widows are ostracized," she says. "An educated woman may have money and independence, but even that is snatched away when she becomes a widow. We live in a patriarchal society. Men say that culturally as a widow you cannot do anything: You cannot grow your hair, you should not look beautiful." She adds, "It's the mind-set of society we need to change -- not the women."
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!


  1. Dear Dr.Giri,

    It is truly an honor to meet a woman of your caliber.
    I live in North America and life becomes difficult here for a widow with my mother being one, although it is nothing compared to the suffering of the widows in India. Pray for me that I am able to work hard towards one day financially funding a large project for your foundation. It is a dream for me to do something significant for the widows and orphans in India. Having met you I found my calling. I am sorry for the pain and suffering you have had to endure in your personal life and at the sametime I admire the person you are today.

    God Bless You.

    Much love and prayers,

  2. Hi Linda,

    I'm a student in Canada and reading this breaks my heart. No one should have to live like this. I would like to get involved and try to help in a small way. Would you have information on how I could reach Dr. Giri via email?
    Love and blessings,

  3. Thank God for people like Dr. Giri.

  4. Dr. Mohini Giri is doing wonderful. I think she is personally employed by Srimati Radhika and Vrinda-devi to help the residents of the dham.