Kolkata: Tiger widows of some Sunderbans villages will be adopted by Sulabh International, an organization that supports more than a thousand widows in Vrindavan and Benaras. They will be given vocational training and provided assistance for self-employment. The purpose, according to Sulabh which is now conducting a survey across three Sunderbans villages to identify the beneficiaries, is to help them lead a life of dignity. Women who have lost their husbands in tiger attacks are referred ‘tiger widows’.
Several villages on the edge of the forest are inhibited by tiger widows. Birinchibari and Hiranmoypur of Jharkhali Satjelia, Kumirmari and Nafarganj are a few among them. Sulabh Foundation has been taking care of around 1000 widows residing in five widow ashrams of Vrindavan, and a couple of ashrams in Varanasi. Women widowed in the Kedarnath water disaster of 2013 are being given vocational training and monetary assistance.
On Friday, around 70 widows from Nabadwip, Vrindavan, Varanasi, Uttarahand and Sunderbans attended a seminar on ‘Emancipation and Empowerment of Widows’ organised by the newly-formed Raja Rammohan Roy and Pandit Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar Foundation in Kolkata.
Subarna Sarkar, 65, a tiger widow from Hiranmoypur village in Jharkhali was among them. She lost her husband Jogesh 15 years ago. Jogesh was killed by a tiger while he went inside the forest to catch crabs. The childless woman lives with her nephew and has been struggling to survive.
“We are doing field work in villages of Sunderbans to identify tiger widows. They will be provided some kind of self-employment and a life of dignity,” said Bindeshwa.