Charities that Help Widows

Charities that Help Widows – The Criteria

It’s a noble cause to support charities that help widows. There are more than 258 million widows around the world, yet many of them are left unsupported in their grief.[1]

In many cultures, a widow is considered cursed and may struggle to obtain even basic provisions.[2] Caring people and organizations like GFA World , however, can help restore her dignity and give her a greater chance for survival. Organizations that care for widows and walk alongside them are vital to helping these women find comfort and answers for the future.

“For millions of widows in South Asia, life is incredibly difficult,” said K. P. Yohannan (Metropolitan Yohan), founder and director of GFA World. “Many are forced into begging or prostitution in order to survive. And those widows with children have to struggle that much harder just to make it through to another day.”[3]

Here are some questions to ask charities that help widows when considering which one you should partner with, along with GFA World’s answers:

In what regions of the world do you work?

Organizations may be focused on a very specific city, country, continent or region of the world. Consider whether you want to focus on a particular part of the world or if you prefer an organization that works closer to home.

GFA’s answer: Since 1979, we’ve worked primarily in South Asian countries and we’ve been caring for widows in those countries with tremendous success. More recently, we’ve also expanded our ministry to include parts of Africa and we’re excited to provide help for widows there as well.

How do you help widows?

There are a myriad of organizations that focus on widow care, and each one has a unique mission. Some help with grief counseling, some meet physical needs, some focus on financial wellness and others are social clubs that provide support among other widows.

GFA’s answer: We provide many aspects of help and support for widows in some of the most impoverished areas of Asia and Africa. These women are often seen as cursed and are often shunned from society. Sometimes they are ignored by their own family. It is commonly thought in many countries that the widow carries the blame for her circumstances. If she has children, she is often left to care for them alone. She is frequently left vulnerable with little support. GFA provides comfort and encouragement, medical check-ups, income-generating gifts, vocational training, literacy classes, as well as clothing and other basic essentials. These gifts of love and skills provide a way for widows to meet her family’s needs long into the future.

In organizations that help widows and orphans, who does the work on the ground?

It is helpful to know if the charity sends workers from another country or if they use locals to help the widows who are in need.

GFA’s answer: GFA trains local missionaries to help those in their country who need assistance. The missionaries are trained to serve effectively in areas where they are familiar with the culture and people. Often, widows are helped by women missionaries who are able to lovingly help these women through a difficult season of grief. Because these women missionaries were born in the area they now serve, they understand the cultural barriers and customs and can instinctively know the best ways to communicate Christ’s love to these hurting women.

“In the midst of such injustice and poverty, there is yet hope,” said Yohannan. “Through the hands-on ministries of women missionaries, widows are regaining human dignity and understanding that there is a God who loves them.[4]

What challenges do widows face?

Widowhood begins with immense grief and often trauma as a woman faces the loss of her husband. Then the realization of financial loss often hits. In areas such as Asia and Africa, the woman may be denied inheritance or land, access to bank accounts and credit. The UN estimates that 1 in 10 widows live in extreme poverty and at least 1.36 million are child widows.[5]

In many countries, legislation needs to be changed to grant widows the rights they need for survival. The UN reports, “Women cannot inherit equally as men in 36 countries, cannot be heads of households or families in 31 countries, and cannot have a job or pursue a profession in 17 states. Such discriminatory laws, which rob widows of property, shelter, income, social benefits, and opportunity, must be struck down to advance women’s rights worldwide.”[6]

How can I help?

One way you can support at-risk widows is by helping GFA World provide a support system that can help them through the difficulties of widowhood. You can provide support for a woman missionary, who ministers to widows in need, or you can donate a life-changing gift for a widow. For example, a widow’s life can be changed by tailoring classes and the gift of a sewing machine. Through these avenues, GFA missionaries supply the means by which widows can gradually rebuild their lives.

One Bible verse about helping orphans and widows is a constance encouragement in our efforts to help these in need: “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27 NASB).

Join GFA World today and support one of the charities that helps widows.

Learn more about global poverty

[1] “Explainer: What you should know about widowhood.” UN Women. June 21, 2021.
[2] “International Widows’ Day.” United Nations Department of Public Information Strategic Communications Division. June 2011.
[3] “World’s Widows Face Discrimination, Oppression and Lack of Essential Resources.” GFA World. June 23, 2014.
[4] “International Widows’ Day.” GFA World. June 17, 2013.
[5] “Explainer: What you should know about widowhood.” UN Women. June 21, 2021.
[6] “Explainer: What you should know about widowhood.” UN Women. June 21, 2021.