Shabrunisha: Inspiring many in her slum

Patriarchy instilled in the minds of our society grips hard and affects the growth of a woman. People who think it to be a long-gone concept are still living in delusion.

Shabrunisha is a living example of one who has suffered the consequences of living amidst a patriarchal kinship.
But what is laudable here is that despite all the miseries in life, Shabrunisha came out confident and willing to make a better life for herself and her children.

“I still get shivered when I recall the time when my parents would plough the rented farms despite the harsh sun burning their skin with scorching heat the whole day,” says Shabrunisha. “They migrated from our village to Asha’s Zakhira slum community years ago and were forced to marry me off at a very tender age due to the financial crisis,” she added. In no time, she became a mother to five daughters and one son. The ignorance and the orthodox culture in her family made her life miserable. At times, when she was in her gestation period; she was not allowed to meet people from outside. “I used to confine to my shanty only. I was forced to deliver my babies at home” told Shabrunisha.

But this was a time when Asha Family came across her. Years ago, when she was carrying a child in her womb, Asha Community Health Volunteer (CHV) started visiting her to perform check-ups on a regular basis and counselled her to register herself for delivery at the nearest government hospital. “It was so difficult to bring her to the Asha Centre. “Earlier, we used to check her at her shanty but when she completed her second trimester, we aggressively started counselling her in-laws and finally, they agreed to take her to the hospital,” says an Asha CHV.

For the first time, Shabrunisha had a safe delivery in a hospital with proper maternal care and early childcare.

But for Shabrunisha, it was not easy to go against the family practice. Post-delivery when she gave birth to a girl child again, Shabrunisha’s in-laws started taunting her. Her entire community made fun of her since she had delivered five girl children since date. It took years for Shabrunisha to fight them all.

Becoming a member of the Mahila Mandal (Women’s Association), Shabrunisha started absorbing the Asha values and also paid it forward around her community. Sticking to Asha helped her grow as a confident and strong woman. She also started a makeshift Snacks shop to become independent.

Recently, she took an initiative in bringing the attention of the Municipal Corporation Department’s Representative to the area and also helped to build a Community Toilet in the vicinity. “I give all the freedom to my daughters to learn and do all that I could not. One of my daughter-Shahzadi is pursuing her master’s degree with the help of Asha, while Roshni and Shaheen are studying in school and regularly visit Asha. I am grateful to Dr Kiran and Asha Team for providing our children such great opportunities and guidance,” said Shabrunisha while ensuring the cleanliness of the toilet across her lane.

Shabrunisha posing in front of the community toilet she helped to build

Shabrunisha posing in front of the community toilet she helped to build

Md Rizwan (Shabrunisha’s husband), who once used to ridicule her wife and children, now proudly boasts about them to his friends and relatives. “Understanding the Asha values from my family, I have now understood the value of relations,” he concluded.

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