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Case Studies

Women’s Shelter

Seva Mandir’s Women’s Shelter received a phone call from some concerned locals who feared for a homeless woman’s safety in Udaipur. She was swiftly brought to the Shelter, where she told us she had been living on the streets for a month after her son kicked her out of her own home.

After settling into the safety of her surroundings, she was assigned a counsellor to help her through her troubling situation. Twenty years ago, her husband died, and she was forced to move back to her parents’ home with her young son. Her parents built a modest one-room home for her

and she started working as a daily labourer to support her son and herself, but it was not to last long. Her son married, and his wife moved into the small one-room house. The wife didn’t want to share a home with her mother-in-law, and the two argued with each other. Eventually, the son kicked his mother out of her home so that he could live alone with his wife. The mother was forced to live on the streets, begging for anything that would help her get by.

After she arrived at the Shelter, she agreed to meet her son so that they could try to find a solution. Seva Mandir counsellors spoke with him, making him aware of the laws he had broken, and his lack of human decency to his mother. He agreed to bring her back to her home, and said that he would build a separate house for himself and his wife.

Our regular visits show that the woman is living happily back in her own house that she worked so hard to make a home.

Hemlata and her SHG

Hemlata, who is 19 years old, lives in a remote village in Seva Mandir’s work area. Whilst it is not legal to be married before the age of 18, it is still common in rural and tribal areas. Hemlata was married in her mid-teens, meaning that she had to put her education on hold. However, Hemlata is a strong and motivated young woman and managed to complete schooling after she was married.

She heard about Seva Mandir’s Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and began to attend meetings regularly to find out if they could help her improve her life.

Through the SHG, Hemlata was connected with Sadhna. She began training to become an artisan for the clothing social enterprise and was eventually producing beautiful handmade needlework.

Later, she heard that Seva Mandir was recruiting women as field workers to carry out work on the SHG programme. She applied and was accepted, starting as a para-worker in her local village area. After months of hard work, Hemlata now conducts SHG meetings on her own. Her determination and this recent boost to her self-confidence are helping her to take a leading role in her village.

Hemlata had faced many challenges. She had never been outside her home to work, let alone to gather villagers to attend SHG meetings. Yet she quickly gained more confidence and even travelled to her in-laws’ house on her own, whereas traditionally she would have had to have been accompanied by a male family member.

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