Rachel Chimits on How a Childless Woman With a Disabled Husband Became a Businesswoman in India With the Help of God and Her Christian Community

A group of Christian widows whose husbands were murdered for their faith in 2008 meet together often in Kandhamal. | John Fredricks

Maanvi* had never had children. Perhaps it was a small blessing since her husband has a mental disability and she has spent her time caring for him and working to provide for them both over the many years of their marriage.

However, in India, childlessness carries a crippling social stigma.

Without children, Maanvi’s neighbors and even her family treated her as if she were already dead. Neighbors began to take over parts of her property without blushing. She had no children to inherit the land, they argued. Someone might as well take it now, instead of having to wait until she was actually in her grave.

Apparently, her family had the same thought. They showed up at her home and forced her and her husband out onto the street.

Adopted by a Compassionate Community

Maanvi had no means to fight back against her family’s usurpation of her home, but she wasn’t about to give up all hope either. She went from door to door, knocking and then offering the suspicious people who opened up, someone to wash their dishes and clothes.

Conditions were still miserable, but at least she and her husband had food most days and a little bit of money to buy new clothes when the old ones became ragged.

As her 50th birthday came and went, though, Maanvi increasingly began to notice the strain of washing baskets of clothes by hand and kneeling on hard floors to scrub the tiles clean. She could feel her body beginning to fail, the aches and pains of hard work without rest growing until they clamored in her head as she trudged home and drowned out almost any other thought.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Rachel Chimits