MAGIS’ work with widows in Sri Lanka: Renuka’s Story

After the death of her husband, Renuka faced financial hardship and difficulties with mental health. Training, counselling and financial support from MAGIS, the international development organisation of the Italian Jesuits, is helping Renuka and her family get back on track. 

Renuka’s husband passed away in 2007. He was a daily wages earner, taking on whatever work he could find. A skilled farmer, he also owned and managed a half-acre tea plantation. He and Renuka lived simply and well with their two children. But after her husband’s death, Renuka fell into both dire poverty and depression. She no longer had the funds or the strength to tend to the tea plantation and the neglected plants stopped yielding leaves.

It was at this stage that Renuka was found by staff from MAGIS, the international development organisation of the Italian Jesuits. MAGIS supported Renuka with training and counselling sessions as well as money for food and the education of her children. The counselling helped Renuka overcome her depression, and training restored her hope and enthusiasm. With food and educational expenses covered, Renuka was able to save for new tea seedlings. These she planted in a small section of her land.

A life of stability and peace

As the plants matured, they started to return a profit. Renuka hired labourers and with their help restored the remainder of her land. Though still grieving the loss of a husband and father, Renuka and her children know once more a life of stability and peace.

Renuka’s daughter has passed her Ordinary Level school examinations with distinction. Her younger son continues happily with his school work. And Renuka has been able to invite her elderly mother-in-law to live with the family, giving her the care she needs.

Through simple, timely action, MAGIS is helping widows like Renuka across Sri Lanka unlock their potential, support their families and become leaders in their communities.

To find out more about MAGIS’ work in Sri Lanka and around the world, visit their website