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Nirmala’s story: Standing for her rights

Nirmala is 29 years old and became a widow at age 22. She joined the Bala Vikasa Women’s Development Program in 2008.

Filled with emotions, Nirmala shares her life in one of our Young Widows meetings: “I never went to school in my life. My parents were illiterate and poor; they arranged my marriage with a relative when I was 11 years old. He was an auto driver, earning but a drunkard. He did not bother about the children or me. By the age of 15, I was a mother of a girl child and by 21, I had 4 children (3 girls and a boy). My in-laws forced me to have children until I gave birth to a male child, promising their help in bringing up the children. Suddenly my husband died in a road accident. My in-laws did not want me nor my children in their house, gave me one room and said to be on my own with my children. I was alone, helpless, no courage, no strength, no knowledge, no support, nothing! It was very difficult to be alone with 4 children. So scared and tired with life, many times I attempted to commit suicide. Even the other day, I bought kerosene oil and poured on me to burn myself to death. The cry of my children stopped me. Supporting words of Bala Vikasa came in front of me like flash! I said to myself: I am ready to take challenge of my life and stand for my rights”.

Nirmala is now working as a caretaker/cleaner in a school and earns $60/month ($2/day). Attending the Women program group meetings and special meetings for Young Widows, Nirmala is now bravely standing up in the society. She learned to help poor orphans in her village. She says…“I understand the misery of poor orphan children who have no mother and father. Last year, I gave 100 Rupees ($1.5) to help them. That day, we did not have enough to eat; I explained to my children that the orphans have nobody and nothing. For my children, at least I am there as a loving mother. We felt the real happiness in giving. This year, I want to give again and encourage others to give”. Nirmala adds “giving until it hurts makes me doubly happy”.

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