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Sivananda Ashram also offers aid and support to widows who are often treated with contempt by society and even family members. Widows are not permitted to attend functions or festivals and are forbidden to lead a normal life, which harms their self-confidence and ability to live as integrated members of society. Projects by Sivananda Ashram have included the employment of widows from 8 am to 4 pm to chant the maha mantra ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ which gave them a daily wage and independence. Skills such as knitting, weaving, making incense sticks and soaps have been also taught, so that in time they may start a small business. These activities in addition to the generous prasad they receive throughout the year, have served not only to make the widows economically independent, but more importantly to regain their lost identity and self-esteem. Today, they can hold their heads high and move in the mainstream of society.

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