Superstitions and cultural beliefs in Indian society place unreasonable and irrational restrictions on its widows. Community members consider the face and presence of widows as unlucky and inauspicious and their legal and basic human rights like dignity, freedom, safety and security are severely violated leaving them economically oppressed, psychologically depressed and some of them sexually exploited. They are also socially isolated and prevented from attending any family functions or religious ceremonies. They are barred from wearing good clothes or jewelry, using cosmetics and putting kumkum (bindi) or flowers and are expected to suffer and mourn for the rest of their lives. The society and its conservative members also vehemently oppose Widow remarriage.
Seeing the grave injustices that are being meted out to the widows, Bala Vikasa has been spearheading a movement for Widow Empowerment and for the reformation of the society over the past decade. Through its initiatives, Bala Vikasa brought significant attitudinal change, provided dignity and opportunities to thousands of widows and succeeded in preventing suicides among them.
Empowered widows resisted discriminatory practices against them, reconstructed their worldviews, faced various challenges with courage and confidence, supported one another, rose above their pain and suffering through building inner strength and participated in various functions, rituals and customs like putting bindi, bangles and flowers, which they were prevented from doing all along