Her front door is a piece of dirty cloth. An open sewer is close by. Her window has been bricked up but still the rain comes in. Her ceiling leaks too, and looks ready to collapse. A massive crack snakes up one wall. This is home for Rehana and her three children.
Rehana’s husband died of a heart attack and now she must support their children alone. She works in a vegetable field and earns about £1 ($1.20; €1.10) a day. It is not enough to feed the family, let alone pay school fees for the children, who were therefore expelled. With nothing but a piece of sheeting across the entrance, people keep burgling her home, taking her kitchen utensils and other meagre possessions.
“The worship that God wants is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help.” (James 1:27)
Vulnerable, despised, rejected
Widows in Pakistan are very vulnerable. They have lost the respected place in society of a married woman. They have lost their husband’s protection and his earnings. Their in-laws do not want them. Even their own parents are often reluctant to take them back – a woman, probably with dependent children, to be fed and supported is a burden. They are despised and rejected, along with their little ones.
As desolate as widows in the Bible
Widows in Bible times were in the same plight. Weeping, mourning, desolation, poverty, indebtedness – this is what we learn from the Old Testament of a woman’s life after losing her husband, her main economic support. Widows were always seen as amongst the neediest in the community.
Small wonder that the Bible tells us over and over again to care for them.
Children no longer go to bed hungry
Barnabas Fund is supporting 300 destitute Christian widows in Pakistan. Rehana and the others receive a monthly food parcel and help with other needs as they arise, such as medical care if there is sickness in the family or rent if they cannot pay it.
“I am thankful to Jesus Christ. He is providing food for my family,” says Rehana. “Ever since I have been receiving this food package my children no longer have to sleep with an empty stomach.” Her children are doubly happy because they have been readmitted to school, as Rehana can now pay their fees.
The locally run church project also teaches the widows about financial management, home economics, hygiene and the importance of prayer, especially in times of crisis. They come regularly to worship and to hear the Word of God.
You can bring them help and hope
A food parcel for a Christian widow and her children costs just £20 ($26; €23) a month.
Please give now – or set up a regular monthly donation.