30-year-old Zareena Bano hails from Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, where she spent her childhood along with her 6 other siblings. Her father was a labourer who earned a sum of Rs.500 (6.97 USD/ 5.4 £) a month which was not enough to take care of his family. Her Mother made potato chips at home and sold them earning barely Rs.200-300 (4.18 USD/ 3.24 £) a month. Times were very difficult for this large family of 9 members.
Zareena’s marriage was arranged at the tender age of 10 years to Vantu who was settled in New Delhi. Vantu made a living as a confectioner in a sweet shop and earned a good sum of Rs.150 (2.09 USD/1.62 £) per day. In 1993, Zareena shifted to Delhi and started living with her husband in the Chanderpuri slum colony. At the age of 12, Zareena gave birth to her eldest son. Soon, she gave birth to 4 more children, 1 girl and 3 boys. Motherhood kept Zareena busy at the age in which she could have pursued her education. There was no looking back.
Asha entered Chanderpuri in 2001 it was at this time Zareena associated herself with Asha and gained knowledge about healthcare and the importance of education. With counselling and guidance provided by the Asha team, Zareena decided to get a tubectomy. Her husband was also supportive of this decision. She also became an active member of the Mahila Mandal and participated in all the activities and weekly sessions conducted at the community centre.
In the year 2013, her eldest son Irshad started complaining of pain in his left leg. These conditions are generally overlooked in the slum, thus only after 1-2 months of continuous pain, Irshad was taken to a so-called doctor. This doctor suggested an incorrect diagnosis as a ‘nerve issue’ and suggested medicines for 6 months. The pain continued which led Zareena to take Irshad to a bone doctor, this doctor prescribed painkillers in the name of medicines for 1-2 years. However, Irshad’s leg deteriorated and he was unable to walk anymore.
Zareena was ashamed of being unable to find a correct diagnosis for years and held herself accountable for her son’s misery. Thus, with nowhere to turn, she finally confided to the Asha CHV about her son’s illness in the year 2016. The Asha CHV immediately took her and Irshad to a renowned doctor in Safdarjung Hospital. There were thorough check-up and tests conducted to diagnosis Irshad’s illness.
Irshad was finally correctly diagnosed with ‘Bone Tuberculosis’. The Doctor prescribed the right medicines and also provided nutrition counselling. Irshad also started physical therapy weekly to better his condition. Within 1-2 months the medicines started to help and Irshad was able to walk a little. By the next 3-4 months, he had gained good health and started walking properly. During this period, Asha provided free counselling and calcium tablets to help Irshad recover better.
Today Irshad is a healthy young man who is on the road to recovery. He continues to visit his doctor once a month and takes his medicines without fail.