Santa Claus brings joy to Vrindavan widows

Santa Claus brings joy to Vrindavan widows

As the year draws to an end, it was time for Santa Claus to bring cheer and happiness in the otherwise dull and drab lives of the “Widows of Vrindavan”.

Hundreds of these women sang carols and danced around the beautifully decorated Xmas tree as they revelled in Christmas celebrations at the century-old Meera Sahabhagini Ashram at Vrindavan in this holy town of Lord Krishna on Sunday.

“Till now I had only seen the children celebrating Christmas….for me it’s the first time,” remarked 72-year old Anjana Goswami, a widow from Assam.

Wearing the traditional red cap, 90- year old Manu Ghosh was also busy in decorating a Christmas tree and grabbed chocolates like a child. She danced with many of others for the first time to celebrate the festival, organised by Sulabh International, which had adopted these women and taken a number of steps to make their lives comfortable and dignified.

Mostly in their seventies and eighties, these widows expressed their joy and happiness by wearing Santa Claus caps and lighting self-made candles around the Christmas tree decorated with flags and festoons. They also dressed up like Santa Claus in dresses and caps they had prepared themselves.

“We are doing everything we can to fill the lives of these widows with happiness and joy,” said Sulabh founder Dr Bindeshwar Pathak.

The candles were prepared by the women as part of the efforts to impart them vocational training to earn their livelihood instead of spreading their hands for alms.

Earlier these widows had learned the art of photography and clicked pictures in the narrow and crowded lanes of Vrindavan. The unique initiative was aimed at boosting the morale of the women.

These women had also brought out four wall newspapers in Bangla language (a majority of them are from West Bengal) at the end of a week-long workshop organised by the organisation with the help of some Delhi based photographers and media personnel.

Hundreds of widows have made Vrindavan and Varanasi their abode after they were abandoned by their families. Arrangements have also been made to impart education to these women in three languages–Hindi, Bengali and English. Teachers have been appointed for the purpose.

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