While sitting down with her, I was just awestruck with her life story and the amazing 'never say die' spirit this woman had about her.
Charmaine was born in 1954. Her father was a registered medical practitioner and mother worked as a secretary at a private firm. Having lived a happy life throughout her childhood, her life seemed to be one upheaval after another from the time she got married. In 1972, she was married and by 1976 her husband had abused her enough so that she had to leave her home with two small children to care for.
Charmaine then registered to become a trained nurse at St. Martha's hospital in Bangalore. She worked for a year in that hospital after the training was completed. However with two children to provide for she decided it was better to work abroad. Hence in 1978 while she was working at a private clinic, she attended a secretarial course which finally took her to Qatar. In 1989, Charmaine decided to return to India to be close to her children. With the money she had saved she started a printing press.
However, in June 1990, her world was turned upside down when she met with an accident. A truck carrying a large shipping container got hooked onto her bike and she was thrown off the bike. The container slid off the truck and landed on Charmaine thus crushing her legs. The only thing she remembers was that she looked out to see whether her son who was riding pillion was alright and then she passed out. Charmaine was in hospital for more than 3 years and had to undergo 19 surgeries.
In 1993, Charmaine walked out of the hospital with crutches and was determined to get back to taking care of her children. She got into a garment factory and started stitching clothes using her one good leg. In-order to make some extra income, she started making pickles and wines and started taking small food catering orders.
From then on, Charmaine worked at many jobs in-order to ensure that hearth kept burning.
Her children got married and left the country. However they don't have the means to support their mother on a sustained basis and neither are they able to visit her regularly.
Charmaine, however never let this come in the way of her survival spirit. With God on her side, she was willing to face any challenge. She continued with the making of pickles, wines and also started selling food at flea markets. With this income she took care of herself.
Life seemed smooth sailing until in February 2019, she suffered a stroke. Her friends rallied around her to help with the medical care. Even-though the recovery was speedy and Charmaine got back on her feet, but it has left her weak and with sudden bouts of vertigo. Her memory also is not as sharp as it was before the stroke. This has now left Charmaine unable to stand by the stove for long durations. Hence her income has come to naught.
Until now her friends have tried to reach out in various ways to support her. However, in the long term the only solution is for Charmaine to get into an old age home where she will be taken care of till the end of her days.
The minimum amount of money that Charmaine would require to live in an old age home is 6000 Rs per month.
Through this plea, we hope to raise 10 lakh Rupees for Charmaine. So that she is taken care of for the next 10 years at-least.