Help Empower Army Widows Through Mission A.W.E.

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.
Her unfaded memory of her Late husband - Charandas Yadav
Her unfaded memory of her Late husband - Charandas Yadav
The certificate she shows with pride and pain
The certificate she shows with pride and pain
Ask for an update
26th January 2018
Hi. I wanted to let you all know that I'm again raising funds and these will be shared with the with Zila Sainik parishad - Maharashtra (Maj Milind) and Mumbai (Capt Ratna Parkhi) wing. These funds will be used given to those who may not get covered by Flag day fund or other govt support funds (as there are conditions to using those funds).
This money I raise will be given unconditionally to those who need it in discussion with both my mentors
Please could you forward my message to others
7th December 2017
Dear all

First a big thank your contribution.
We had some spare funds and we'd given to Flag day fund.
This fund is run by independent Army body called Zila Sainik Parishad and the funds are used for
a) Widows medical benefits
b) Children's education
c) Family Rehabilitation
d) Other unexpected emergencies for war widows or their families

We've just received a plaque at a function (on all your behalf) that was attended by The Governor of Mumbai, all 3 armed forces Chiefs in Mumbai.
It was a moving moment for me because I know I would not have been able to do this without you.

Thank you so much for your generosity

14th August 2017
Dear Supporters,

This time Mission AWE is working for Zila Sainik office - Pune....
1971: Tarabhai Wokhar Balwant widow of Sreeman Wokhar Sopana Balwant. Married at 15, first child at 17, widowed at 18.

Many of us cannot imagine this. But this is the true life of many of the widows of the Sipahis of the 1965-1970s wars that India fought.

“You know, we had come to our village on the outskirts of Pune after my son was born. My husband was building a house there for us to live in. One afternoon as he laid bricks, the postman brought the letter. The Indo-Pak war had started and he had to go. He laughed and said – “Bas, I’ll beat them all and be back before you know it.”

Sreeman Balwant went to Bangladesh with his battalion to fight the 1971 Indo-Pak war. Within a few days, the news of his death was delivered by the same postman. Tarabai remembers that day and Sreeman Balwant’s smile, but little else. The grind of life after he was gone is more vivid for her than the happiness they had shared together.

“My son was 1 when Shreeman died. He has no memory of this father. I also only remember his smile before he left for the war,” says Sopana.

The family plunged into financial difficulty. The government supported her with 10 acres of land. Tarabai worked in the fields. But aging parents and in-laws and a growing son meant expenses beyond what she could manage. So, she worked at other odd jobs as well  – sometimes it was working in the fields for hours to till the land, sow and harvest the crop; at other times it was overtime work in a factory in conditions far from healthy. Money was difficult to find, and ugly male advances were easy. But Tarabai stood her ground.

But life will not let up for her!
Today at 64, she stands alone  – no savings, just the pension and a son who passed away two years ago in 2015 due to a critical illness. She now lives alone.

Here’s what Tarabhai would do if she received the money (translated): “If I got some money, I would first pay my bills, my rent, and use that money to buy medicines. People like us don’t have it in our fate to see so much money, so I will thank god that so many people read my story and reached out to support me” 

Most widows of Sipahis like Tarabhai are widowed at the age when children learn how to spell the word marriage. They brave loneliness, harassment and grinding hard work to single-handedly hold together their families. They work long hours to put food on the mat, and live a long life filled with loneliness even before they turn 30.

Please help me make give them the dignity they deserve

Thank you !
raised of Rs.1,500,000 goal

149 Supporters

Beneficiary: Zila Sainik Wel... info_outline

Supporters (149)

Mythili donated Rs.2,500
7 months ago
WILLIAM donated Rs.1,500
7 months ago

Keep it up !! God Bless You !

Anonymous donated US $10
7 months ago

I hope things get better for you. God Bless

Shourya donated Rs.500
7 months ago
Anonymous donated US $25
7 months ago
Arpit donated Rs.1,000
7 months ago