Woman power

From being homeless, women are transforming themselves into icons of confidence with help from an NGO

rahul-trivedi

Rahul Trivedi | December 21, 2018 | Delhi


#Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses   #Collective of Homeless Women   #homeless   #SPYM  
Radha, transformed by will
Radha, transformed by will

Radha doesn’t know who her parents are. She has been homeless – and living on the streets of Delhi –ever since she remembers. But that hasn’t prevented her from becoming a leader, one who trains other homeless women and helps them acquire identity and confidence. Like her.
 
Radha now lives in the Kalkaji shelter home. Just a few months ago she was on the footpaths. All she knew, even then, was that a better life was not beyond reach. Also, inside her, was the urge to help others. What transformed the urge into positive action was the Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM), an NGO that manages many shelters in Delhi, besides offering deaddiction programmes for alcoholics and drug-takers. Six months ago, SPYM started an initiative called the Collective of Homeless Women (CHW), which extends a helping hand to women living on the footpaths.
 
It’s a ten-member group, and it reaches out to the homeless, encourages them to come to shelter homes, imparts skill-based training, and gives them the confidence to make a fresh start in life. Radha, who is part of the collective, narrates her story: “I didn’t have any ID proof like Aadhaar card or anything. When I came in touch with SPYM, I realised there are many government initiatives meant for people like me but we don’t know how to access them. At the shelter home, I took courses in making sanitary pads, stitching, sewing.”
 
She now works to help other homeless. “I’ve encountered a lot of women and girls who live on the footpaths and are drug addicts. It is difficult to convince them to come with us. We have to spend a lot of time, sometimes days, to get them to our centre. We help them get voter IDs and Aadhaar cards made so that they can receive government aid.” She says that through work, she is able to support her family, live a respectable life, and help others too. What differentiates CHW from others providing succour to the homeless is the skills training it provides, she says. The IDs, skills, and confidence-building awaken the urge to become self-sufficient.
 
Nusrat is another member of the collective who has wrought a dramatic change in her life. Two years ago, she came to Delhi with a husband who is mentally ill and three children. Choking, she speaks of how she lived near the Nizamuddin dargah for two months, before finding the shelter home. In fact, the shelter home gave her her first job, as a caretaker.
 
Later, she started looking for homeless women living on footpaths and in spaces below flyovers and bridges to convince them to come to shelter homes and take up training courses. What has changed the most in her, she says, is the loss of fear. Earlier, she’d not be confident about speaking to people. And going to police stations to lodge complaints was unthinkable. But now, it’s something she does with a surefootedness that surprises her. Financially, too, she is much better off than when she arrived in the city.
 
Rani is another volunteer, and she is full of praise for her protege Ruby. Rani brought Ruby and her children to the SPYM shelter, and Ruby has taken up some training courses. Soon, she hopes, Ruby will learn to live with confidence. SPYM, of course, is doing a lot, but the real effort comes from the women themselves. With nothing to begin with and with nothing to lose, they summon up deep wellsprings of aspiration, take whatever little help is available, and start walking with confidence towards the goals they set themselves.
 
rahultrivedi@governancenow.com 

(The article appears in December 31, 2018 edition)

Comments

 

Other News

A great literary feast (that could’ve been even more sumptuous)

A Case of Indian Marvels: Dazzling Stories from the Country’s Finest Writers Edited by David Davidar Aleph, 390 pages, Rs 999 Change is the only constant, and India has always been doing so. Yet, after independence, if there was a year when the p

Govt e-Marketplace sellers report more business

“My volume of business has increased ever since I registered on GeM (Government e-Marketplace) in 2017. Earlier, I could supply items only in the vicinity of my shop in Fort area and only within Mumbai. Now, I ship my products all over the country! I have tied up with India Post and three private cou

How the Hindi Newspaper Business Changed

The Journey of Hindi Language Journalism in India: From Raj to Swaraj and Beyond By Mrinal Pande Orient BlackSwan, 188 pages, Rs 1,195.00 In India, the English-language media is considered the ‘national media’, while the language press

More reforms in telecom sector in offing: Ashwini Vaishnaw

The telecom sector in the country will witness more reforms in the coming years, minister for communications, electronics & IT and railways Ashwini Vaishnaw has said. He also asserted that the industry too will have to do its bit and reciprocate by improving quality of service significantly.

Left-wing extremism: challenges and response

Left-wing extremism is in existence right from India’s independence, but it became prominent in 1967 under the name of Naxalism. The nomenclature of this movement has changed from time to time and place to place depending upon the leadership. Before 2014 more than 15 states were facing this problem w

Agri Min organises events ahead of International Year of Millets 2023

A series of pre-launch events and initiatives have been organised by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on the MyGov platform in the run-up to the International Year of Millets 2023 to create awareness and a sense of participation in the country  around the ancient and forgotten golden

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter