Indian Widows Project


In 2010 Father Paul Mike SJ, came to Zurich to visit the ESCM to inform us of a project that looked to help Indian Widows.

KALANGARAI’, meaning "Beacon of Light",( A centre of hope for the marginalised Women, Youth an Children) had its birth

in the process of relief and rehabilitation works initiated in Nagapattinam district following the Tsunami, which occurred on 26th Dec. 2004.
The district having 187 kms long coastal line was worst affected by the cataclysmic event.

Of the total number of 8,018 deaths in the state, 6,065 were from Nagapattinam district.
The Project is overseen by the Jesuit provence and assisted by a group of religious sisters led by Sr. Flora Mary SJL.

Here in the ESCM a small group of parishioners wanted to help and met together to look at ways they could raise awareness of the Widows Project and to raise funds for the Widows and their children. 15_indian_widows_group - Open to see some of the group involved.  The group recenltly held a "Cheese N Wine" evening - see here for the balance sheet. cheese_n_wine_fundraiser - and here for some photos




















_dsc0102A big ‚Äúthank you‚ÄĚ goes out to everyone that joined us for the Cheese & Wine Fundraising Event on Wednesday, November 23. We enjoyed an assortment of British cheese and fine wine, while learning more about the lives of widows in India. The speakers of the evening were Fr. John, Amelia Nameeta, and Michael Fontana-Jones, founder of the British Cheese Centre in Zurich. Amelia Nameeta is the leader of the Indian Widows Project group and gave a thorough overview of what it is like to be married in India, as well as what it means to be a widow. Being married binds a woman to the husband and his family, which makes it extremely difficult for a widow to reclaim her identity after her husband‚Äôs death, re-marriage, etc. Every facet of a widow‚Äôs life is affected simply because she is a widow and that‚Äôs why our group is here to help. We want to help emancipate these women by giving them a voice and a chance at survival in society not just by providing them with money for the essentials, but by teaching them a trade, helping them build huts, and purchasing animals to help them make a living.

For the remainder of the evening, we had a raffle for a basket of wine, cheese and baguettes, as well as an auction for a few cases of wine. Through ticket sales and _dsc0132donations, the event raised 5010 CHF in total, which will be given directly to the sisters, priests and volunteers working with the widows in Nagapattinam, India. Fr. John will be visiting the project in December to see how the money raised is helping the widows and their families, and will provide us with more information upon his return. We look forward to seeing you at our next fundraising event.

For more information regarding the cheese, please visit

-Stephanie McHugh


_dsc0131To understand the background to the project and how this project is trying to change the lives of Widows and 

their children, please read the  Strategic Plan and Organisation Structure docs. below.

This project really is making a difference to lives of the poorest and outcasts of society.

In small groups, women work together helping each other to climb out of poverty and regain

their dignity. To set their children and themselves free from prejudice and  harm.




We add here more information as it becomes available.


Some information and downloads for your interest-

Recent articles and links

  Women's day 2012 - A selections of photos of the Widows and their families at the International Women`s Day highlighting the plight of the Widows.

pdf father paul mike - recent article re plight of widows in india - gives an excellent insight into the project and the life of the Wodows and their children.

pdf strategic plan of kalangari english - pdf

doc strategic plan of kalangari english - word doc

pdf organizational chart of kalangarai - pdf doc

doc organizational chart of kalangarai - word doc


pdf updated - a brief report of the activities of kalangarai 01/06/2011,14:24 602.93 Kb

doc updated - a brief report of the activities of kalangarai 01/06/2011,14:23 96.00 Kb

pdf news paper cuttings 01/06/2011,14:23 1.57 Mb

pdf list of children for education help 2011 01/06/2011,14:21 63.25 Kb

doc list of children for education help 2011 01/06/2011,14:21 81.00 Kb

pdf undeclaresinternationalwidowsday


How can you help directly ? By giving a little to make a great difference -

see below the needs of the project. Either give for a specific item or give

a general donation.  


(Donations can be given to allow tax refund, please contact the ESCM office for more information.)


I went in January 2012 to see the project for myself and to meet those involved. 

On the last day with the team I asked them to tell me what their ‚Äúwish list‚ÄĚ would be.?

What would make a difference to their work.?

How best could we in the ESCM Zurich help and develop the wonderful work they were doing. ? 

Here are their wishes:-

  1. 20 Scholarships for 1 year job oriented training for 17 & 18 yr old - each per year. 300Chf
  2. 100 College fees for 14- 17 yr olds  30Chf each per year
  3. 200 Elderly widows medical help 30 Chf each
  4. 20  Financial help to recently widowed  100  Chf each
  5. 30 Repair to hut roof 200 Chf each
  6. Provide a cow to a widow/ family 400 Chf each
  7. Provide 2 goats to a / family  125 Chf  each
  8. Health worker/Nurse to visit villages  7500 Chf per year