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Project Profile

Empowerment of Soura Widows

OVERVIEW

The mission of SBCMS in partnership with CBM is to generate income for vulnerable widows in the Soura community. Widows get the opportunity and financial support to become established entrepreneurs in their society. Support this project through financial contributions and prayer.  

Cause:

Location

Field Staff:

Local Partner:

Soura Baptist Christian Mandali Samiloni (SBCMS)

The Situation

Ninety-five percent of one of the oldest indigenous groups in India, the Souras, live in the hills and mountains of Odisha state in Northeastern India. The Soura community depends mainly on agriculture and labor for income. However, the climate and hilly terrain make farming difficult for most of the year, producing a limited supply of crops. Further, those dependent on labor do not receive steady work. The status of the Soura population within India has had challenges with low literacy rates and facing discrimination as “untouchables” of Odisha. Soura widows are often marginalized within their communities and struggle to provide for the family. Business training, financial support, and the generosity of Christians living out their faith in word and deed can help empower and dignify widows despite any barriers.

OVERVIEW

The mission of SBCMS in partnership with CBM is to generate income for vulnerable widows in the Soura community. Widows get the opportunity and financial support to become established entrepreneurs in their society. Support this project through financial contributions and prayer.  

The Situation

Ninety-five percent of one of the oldest indigenous groups in India, the Souras, live in the hills and mountains of Odisha state in Northeastern India. The Soura community depends mainly on agriculture and labor for income. However, the climate and hilly terrain make farming difficult for most of the year, producing a limited supply of crops. Further, those dependent on labor do not receive steady work. The status of the Soura population within India has had challenges with low literacy rates and facing discrimination as “untouchables” of Odisha. Soura widows are often marginalized within their communities and struggle to provide for the family. Business training, financial support, and the generosity of Christians living out their faith in word and deed can help empower and dignify widows despite any barriers.

How We Are Helping

Here are several steps SBCMS takes towards transforming the lives of widows in Odisha:

Training for vulnerable widows

Unemployed widows and those with a low annual income are selected to enroll, join the widow’s federation, and receive help with opening bank accounts.

Workshops in business and marketing 

Two workshops are held for 40 widows each year where they gain essential business and marketing skills.

Financial assistance to start microenterprises

Financial assistance to start small business enterprises using local and accessible resources – to sell cashew nuts, handmade brooms, or goats and chickens.

Photo of an Indian women sewing
Photo of an Indian family tending to goats

The Impact of Our Work

Jukebul Gomango is from Gajapati. After she lost her husband to malaria, Jukebul’s family went into mourning. She struggled to support her family through subsistence farming, as is the plight of many widows. The local church helped enroll Jukebul in this project, where she immediately began receiving financial assistance. In 2017, she was able to purchase her first goat. Jukebal works hard and continues to work for daily wages to support her family. With the support of CBM and SBCMS, she is further hoping to enroll her son in a driving course to allow him to pursue a vocation.

“My goat gave birth to three baby goats. I am banking on selling them later and utilizing the proceeds for my daughter’s marriage which is the immediate need. I thank CBM for coming to my rescue and bringing a sense of security in my life.”

Jukebul Gomango

“This project allows widows to stand on their own feet and lead a dignified life in the society. Their children are going to school, and living standards have significantly improved.”