“Tuberculosis (TB) not only killed my husband but left my little world into bits,” recalled Somvati.
50-year-old Somvati and her husband migrated to Asha’s Dr Ambedkar Basti in the capital city-Delhi from their village in search of a better livelihood and opportunity two decades ago. But like the other millions of migrants, they too ended up in a tiny size shanty in one of the ghettos of the city. The economic crisis and the expense of the growing family started taking a toll on the health of the head of the house. Amidst the fight for subsistence, he could hardly give it enough heed until it reached to the extent.
An Asha CHV (Community Health Volunteer), who was on a community visit, found Somvati’s husband lying on the bed. He was suffering from acute fever from past a few days. The CHV immediately took him to a nearby diagnostic centre where he was diagnosed with Multidrug-Resistant Category-II Tuberculosis (TB). Hence, he started undergoing treatment at Asha.
In spite of Asha’s aggressive efforts, his health condition worsened, and he succumbed to the disease at the end in 1999.
Poor Somvati, who was left stranded with two sons aged 3 and 5 respectively and a 12-year-old brother-in-law, went into a trauma. But Asha didn’t leave her. With the help of counselling and motivation, she managed to come out of her depression as well as take care of her responsibilities. Not only she became an active member of Mahila Mandal (Women’s Association) but a better version of herself too.
In the initial years, the Asha’s Mahila Mandal (Women’s Association) gave her food, clothes and other necessary means. Once recovered from the trauma, she was provided with a home improvement loan of ₹ 12000 under the Asha’s Financial Inclusion Programme. Somvati built two rooms from the loan amount and gave one room on rent so that she could earn some money. Following the Asha values, she paid back the loan amount within the time frame.
The family of Somvati had started rejoicing life once again. Both the sons and brother-in-law started earning.
But one day, her younger son and the brother-in-law met with an accident while on the way to work. The unfortunate incident left them physically challenged for life. A bout on the financial situation made the other son alcoholic. Due to that his wife left him and went back to her place. Somvati, who was already struggling with cataract, had now come to the verge of breaking down. But she didn’t.
In spite of all the struggles, Somvati has not lost hope.
“Sometimes, the end of joy is not what makes you sad but the end of HOPE,” this is what she used to say.
But now, the determined Somvati follows this mantra, “Life with a family who CARES is easy. Asha is that family to me. I will sail through this too, I believe.”
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