Thank you for taking the time to read about Mission A.W.E. (Army Widows Empowerment).
Here’s 3 reasons why you may want to read on…
- The Average Life Expectancy of an Indian Sipahi is 59 - an age when most civilian families are dressing up their children for marriage!
- An Indian Sipahi who goes on a mission, knows that only 1 or 2 from a battalion of 10 will survive – and every Sipahi’s wife hopes that theirs will be that lucky 1!
- The fate of an army Sipahi’s wife: most are widowed under 30. For the next 40-50 years, they educate their children single-handedly, marry them off single-handedly, take care of ageing parents and themselves…again single-handedly.
You may ask, so what?
Because even if we discount the loneliness, this grind is not a simple life challenge, with most of the widows not even educated beyond Grade 10!
That’s where Mission A.W.E. steps in: “To provide both financial support and livelihood empowerment to army widows in need”
My first story aims to raise money for Sumati Yadav, aged 75.
“It was 1965. I had been married for 2 years and lived in Kashmir with my husband. Then the war escalated, and I went back to the village to deliver my first child in a safe place. My husband died the month I delivered my baby. I found out only 10 months later because of the distance between Kashmir and my village.”
“His body was never found! Everyone said he must have died,” she says as her eyes go misty.
The next 51 years saw uneducated Sumati, who had no relatives, single-handedly bring up her only child on a pension of 4 Rupees and fifty paisa. Yes, that’s right Rs. 4.50 only! These years saw her get crushed under debt as she cared for ageing in-laws, struggled to help her only son recover from an illness that is now debilitating, and 4 grandchildren of whom 3 are differently abled and unable to support the family.
In 1999, their pension policy changed. The pension was revised to Rs. 22,000. With no savings, no support, no job post retirement, it was too little, too late!
She now needs our help to save her only son who has a terminal illness and needs a surgery to help restore his basic functions.
Please can you help 71-year old Sumati to see her son recover even as she lives the last years of her life struggling to make ends meet!No donation is small. Every contribution counts as her son battles against life and Sumati runs from pillar to post to save him.
My mission is to enable the brave widows like Ms. Sumati to die in dignity after their husbands’ have laid their lives for us and our country. My mission aims to:
- Raise funds for the needy widows of Indian Sipahis who give up their lives for our country to keep us safe every night.
- Create awareness about the challenges these widows face and the bravery they display against social stigma, against gruelling poverty and against the loneliness of single parenting from a young age.
- To bring empowerment in other ways by helping them or their family to get jobs to aid them in living a life of basic dignity in their old age.