Why We Are
On December 26th, 2004 a devastating Tsunami hit the coastal communities of Sri Lanka.
While assisting to feed, clothe and offer medical assistance to the victims of the disaster, a Buddhist monk who managed a Moratuwa camp was concerned about one of the displaced survivors and introduced her to our founder, Pamela Porodo. Pam met the young 23 year old woman who was 6 months pregnant and alone.
She had lost her home, mother, father, husband and three year old child to the deadly wave. Without hope and what she deemed a bleak future ahead of her, she was forced with a decision a grieving mother and mother to be, should never have to make. She was stealing medications from other victims in the came with a view to ending her life and that of her unborn child.
Many hours were spent with this young woman in order to convince her to relinquish the bag of stolen pills she had pinned in her skirt. Long after dark the team finally left the camp with the bag of pills and a promise from Pam that she would find a way for the young woman to support and care for her soon to be born child.
After another sleepless night Pam was at ends as to how she would live up to her promise. On the way back to the camp the following morning the van stopped at a red light, as she stared blankly across the street she noticed a shop that had bags of beads sitting in the window…… The jewelry project started that day with one bag of beads and some fishing line purchased in another village just down the road.
With no plan in place yet, Pam gave the young girl the bag of beads and the fishing line and showed her how to make a simple three-strand tie necklace. She told the young woman that she would return to buy her creations and that was the day… January 17th, 2005 that Work For Widows began.
Within days the news had gotten out and numerous women were waiting for Pam at the gate of the displaced camp. It became quickly apparent that many women in the effected areas were faced with uncertain futures after having lost their husbands to the Tsunami.
Since that time over 180 women have been through the program. Many have gone on to establish their own businesses and 122 are still involved in the program caring for and educating their children.