A Community of Widows


Bethany Christian Services' One Family sponsorship provides friendship and support for widows from within their own community.

In the farming community of Chichicastenango, Guatemala—or as it is known, Chichi (pronounced “Chee-Chee”)—Anna, Manuela, and two women both named Tomasa are among the widowed. Between them they have 18 children to support, but the average woman in their area earns only the equivalent of $2 a day—if that. Any corn they gather from surrounding fields that they do not need for their own families they sell at the market for income. But much of the time, there is not even enough corn to eat, let alone to sell so they can buy fruits or vegetables. Though they live in the same community, circumstances do not allow neighbors to readily help each other with their needs. If a woman asks a neighbor for help with a repair, for instance, that neighbor will likely need to ask for a payment for services because they, too, are living in abject poverty.

But now these four women and their children are supported through Bethany’s One Family sponsorship. Each has received a wood stove, a water filter, and supplies for their children to be able to attend public school. In addition, they are part of a program sponsored by our local organization Manos de Jesus, which means “hands of Jesus.” Through education and training, they learn about hygiene and self-worth while gaining confidence, and will eventually receive guidance to help them establish sustainable small businesses to better support their families. The classes are taught by local women who best know what it will take for these women to survive and thrive in their own culture and community. Meanwhile, the children are taught with Bible stories, Christian videos, song, and dance.

Support and hope for these widows now comes from within their own circle of friendship and community.

The One Family campaign provides critical support to communities in need around the world. Through the development of sustainable family preservation services, the One Family campaign works to ensure that children who have lost one or both parents to war, AIDS, disease, abandonment, poverty, or natural disaster receive the love and nurturing they require.


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