"You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know." William Wilberforce
You’ve taken a major step by reading these pages and allowing yourself to be touched by the plight of these abused women.
But now our very knowledge makes us responsible to do something, even if “only” to pray for them.
other tangible ways of joining in the struggle to change the status quo for
widows in developing countries, some of which I’ve suggested below.
§ My own encouragement would be to start by asking God to put a burden on your heart for either a specific group of widows (e.g. genocide widows in Rwanda, the abandoned widows in China, etc.) or a particular nonprofit whose approach to empowering widows is one that gets you excited. Then learn all you can, and see how God inspires you to take next steps.
§ Remember Karen Lantz ? She’s just an ordinary woman who raised money to buy a goat for a widow in Uganda, after visiting there. She didn’t intend to start anything big, but since then she has raised funds to give goats to over 300 widows and their families! That’s the kind of creative inspiration that can happen as we open our hearts to God’s heart and let Him give us an idea of how to help – even just one widow.
§ As you browsed the section on NonProfits' Impact did any of the nonprofits capture your interest? If so, why not subscribe to their newsletter and become more knowledgeable about the ways in which they are empowering widows?
§ In the page on International Widows Day there are a number of suggestions as to how you might share your new awareness with your church or social group or service club. I hope one or two of them sound like something you could do.
§ Most nonprofits welcome donations! Again, if the work of a particular nonprofit appeals to you, consider donating to them, either a one-time gift or a regular monthly donation in support of one of the widows they are assisting.
§ Some of the nonprofits have items for sale (like the Afghan Hope Project), so do consider buying from one of these websites the next time you want to buy a gift for a special person in your life.
Or make a donation in honour of your special person. They may be thrilled
to know that the birthday gift you gave has permitted one widow to start (for example) her
own poultry business.
Check out these: Come Together Widows and Orphans Foundation (Africa), International Justice Mission (Africa), TAPS’ Afghan Hope Project (War Widows), White Rainbow Project (India), Women for Women International (Global).
§ You may well want to mount your own fundraiser and encourage your friends to help you raise a significant amount of money. Chris Parsons, a British lawyer, does this regularly on behalf of The Loomba Foundation, and has raised thousands of pounds for them through his sponsored cycle rides and marathon walks.
§ What about volunteering with one of these charities? Perhaps visit one of their projects in a developing country to get a real close-up encounter with real widows.
§ If that’s too far out of your comfort zone, you might choose to visit your local immigrant women’s society or refugee support group and chat with any of their clients who are widows.
§ If you’re the kind who is motivated to fight passionately for worthwhile causes, consider getting involved with one of the organizations that strives to get laws passed (and upheld) that honour the rights and dignity of women everywhere.
§ Hear the lament of a widow who speaks for the 150+ million living in utter destitution, and find in your heart the answer she needs to hear.