Social worker Sifiya Haneef recently was conferred with the Neerja Bhanot Award-2018 for her extraordinary work towards uplifting widows and helping hundreds of families.
She was only 20 when she became a widow, and by then, a mother of two. "I wanted to continue studying and begin to earn so I could support my sons and myself," she says. But the idea was alien to her family who was afraid that a young widowed girl working would get people talking. She continues, "They wanted me to remarry or stay at home.”
So, she got on the phone with a few friends in Bengaluru and took the next bus to the city with her youngest son and the promise of a new job. Bengaluru was her last resort to put her life back together. But the friends who once promised to help her, suddenly cut her calls. Sifiya had nowhere else to turn to, until a woman she’d call ‘paati’ came to her rescue, took her home, fed her and her hungry child.