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1. Hemlata

Hemlata is a student of our Computer class. She is from a Middleclass family. Being the eldest in the family, she was not able to study beyond class 8 because the parents wanted her to stay at home and help her mother with house work.

 When Hemlata expressed her desire to study computers, her father refused. Hemlata tells that it took a lot of persuasion and discussion at home before her father agreed to let her learn computers.

 Hemlata would come to the class without intermingling with others, she would do her work. One day her Computer teacher asked her the reason for being so quiet. Hemlata replied that she wanted to study further but her father is not ready for that. The teacher took a session on gender issues in the same session. In that session organised a discussion on the Gender issues. Hemlata also took part. All participants discussed the importance of Education and that those girls who want to study further, they can sit at home and can continue their studies through the Open School programme from the IGNOU University.

 One day Hemlata told the teacher that her father, after a lot of persuasion, had agreed to let her study further. Now I will be able to pass tenth class. All this happened because of my coming to AAG- GRC. She learnt Computers and also resumed her higher studies.    

2. Mamta

Mamta aged 32 years has enrolled for Cutting and Tailoring class. Her family comprises of her husband and three daughters. When she enrolled at AAG-GRC, she was not able to go anywhere independently. She used to ask her husband to escort her even to visit her parents. Mamta’s husband has a general store. After enrolling for cutting and tailoring classes at AAG-GRC, Mamta started interacting with the women at the Centre and gradually came out of her shell. At the Centre itself she came to know about the advanced courses on Tailoring and Fashion Design under the Swarn Jayanti Sehri Rojgar Yojna (SJSRY) scheme.

She shared this information with her husband and expressed her wish to undergo this training.   At first he refused outright to allow her to go for the course to Kalkaji.  He was worried about the welfare of their daughters. She went on tackling her husband repeatedly till at last seeing her keen desire to attend this training, he relented and gave her permission to go for the course. She organised her time and completed both the courses under the SJSRY scheme.

Before  coming to AAG-GRC for training on tailoring, and later meeting the women  at the Centre, she and her family, both, wanted a fourth child – a son so that the family name continued.

But after coming to AAG-GRC and getting strengthened by the influence of the empowered women, she understood that a woman has a power to decide what she wants regarding how many children she will have. There was a change in her thinking; she has told her family clearly that, ‘I will not produce any more children, risking my health.  Instead I will empower our daughters by getting them educated in schools and making them stands on their own feet.”

Now Mamta has started for applying for jobs with various companies and is going for interviews, so that she can get a job with a good Salary and she can stand be self reliant. She has also decided to complete her studies. She says, “Now I have got so much self- confidence that I am no longer afraid of travelling alone even at night.”

Finally, Mamta does not want to miss any opportunity for self improvement.

3. Savita

36 year old Savita comes from a middle-class family. When she enrolled at AAG for adult literacy classes, she was illiterate and hence could not go independently for shopping.  She started studying in Adult literacy classes. During this period her family and neighbours used to taunt her and make fun of her. But she ignored them and continued studying at AAG-GRC. She is a very diligent and hard working.  She has completed the course, competed studying all the three books and now can read and write and do accounts.

Savita has started shopping independently and is teaching her small son herself. She was saying, “When I started studying at AAG GRC, I did not know how to read and write and the neighbours made fun of me saying, ‘At this age she wants to study and become a ‘Mem Sahib!’.  But I did not stop studying and now I have learnt to read and write and I can also do accounts.”

She recounted, “One day, it so happened that I was waiting for the bus with my husband.  When I saw our bus coming from a distance, I told my husband, “Come on hurry up! Our bus is coming.” Listening to me my husband was stunned and exclaimed, “How do you know that this is the bus we have to take?” I replied, “I can read the number of the bus, all this is thanks to the teaching at the Gender Resource Centre of AAG.” My Husband said,” You have become very smart!”  She shared at AAG-GRC, “Whenever I think of my husband’s remark, I feel very elated.”

4. Sunita

 I met Sunita in of the Self Help Group Meetings.  She requested, “Please make an SHG in our area also. We gathered 15 women in her area for the SHG. She remarked, “I have gained a lot through formation of this group. We collected the Group. She said that she was earlier not aware of the importance of making a birth certificate for her daughter. With this certificate, I can fill the Ladli Scheme (A special scholarship for girl children who are enrolled for studies. Then she talked about AAG-GRC. She stated that, “Janki Madam, the Help Desk Counsellor explained in detail about the importance of registering the births of the Children and the Ladli Scheme. I filled both the forms because my daughter studies in a school. I had to struggle a lot to register my daughter’s Birth and to get enrolled in the Ladli Scheme. Finally I succeeded in getting both.”

“I got a lot of information from AAG-GRC. I joined the Self Help Group in my area and learnt a lot of things about the services available to women. I have enrolled myself for Tailoring Class. I plan to send my daughter for the Course on Computers.”  Finally she said, “I like the behaviour of the people at AAG-GRC. They are so supportive that I was encouraged to join for the Tailoring class and to my daughter enrolled under the Ladli Scheme ensuring a better future for my daughter. Had there been no GRC, I would not have learnt Tailoring, or my daughter enrolled.”

5. Chanchi

“I am 17 year old daughter of Shri Chhedilal. I am a resident of Lucknow but am living in the Rag Picker’s colony at Delhi for the last 15 years. We are 8 brothers and sisters. My father died when I was very young.  Our Financial state was so bad that I had to leave school after Class 1.

“I became a rag-picker and helped my elder brother who was working and looking after the whole family. But from the day he got married, there was strife in the house. My brother and his wife started living in a separate rented house. My younger brother sells plastic buckets etc., and I look after the house and I take the responsibility of the whole family.

“One day a Lady from AAG-GRC came for a meeting to our block and described the activities of the Centre, She encouraged us to study at the Centre.

 “Some girls from our neighbourhood and I enrolled ourselves for the education classes. The other girls did not take the studies seriously and dropped out shortly and were quite content sitting at home.  I go early morning to collect discarded materials lying on the street, then go to collect fire wood and come home. I then return home, cook the food for the whole family, and do household chores. After completing these I go for studies to AAG-GRC.   I have not left the GRC Centre despite being dissuaded by the family. But I like to study, so I have not left my studies at the Centre and at the same time have done all my other work.

 I am very grateful to AAG-GRC who helped me get my Adhar Identity Card despite not having the necessary documents. I have now joined the tailoring classes also.   

 Seeing my progress, the girls who had dropped from the NFE classes have rejoined them. The people from the neighbourhood, seeing my progress remark, “Chanchi has become very accomplished. She can both study and stitch clothes.” The parents who were not allowing their children to enrol for studies have now sent them to AAG-GRC for studies. She has succeeded in getting UID card through AAG GRC without any support papers.

 Chanchi stated, “I am very grateful to AAG GRC. I have learnt to read and write, be simple accounts and learning tailoring.  I also possesses UID card thank to help by AAG GRC”.
 The biggest achievement by Chanchi has been that she is a torch bearer whose shining example has generated lot of inspiration in the rag pickers colony and now all the children that the parents had withdrawn from the NFE classes in GRC,  have been brought back in NFE classes by the parents themselves.  

6. Sandeep Das

I, 35 year old Sandeep Das, resident of Hari Nagar Village. I go from lane to lane selling Bindis, Sindoor and Lipsticks and provide for my family with the earnings, I am unmarried, and through this profession I make a living. I have very poor eyesight

One day, while I was moving from lane to lane selling my wares, I heard a Lady telling the audience in a meeting about the facilities available at AAG-GRC. There the Madame talked about government schemes for differently abled. She mentioned that it was possible to get a Medical certificate about one’s disability. She invited people to visit AAG-GRC for more details about the schemes. I took the address and reached AAG’s GRC. There the help Desk Counsellor heard my story in full and then told me the advantages of getting the  disability certificate  and directed me to go to a specific hospital in Malviya Nagar taking my proof  of  Residence at Delhi and my Identity Card and to  get my eyes examined.

 I went to the hospital at Malviya Nagar.  The doctor checked my eyes and a few days after that I received my Disability Certificate. Then taking this Certificate, I went to AAG-GRC and showed them this Disability Certificate.  Then the Counsellor advised me to fill the forms for Bus Pass and file an application for Railway Pass. I filled the form for Bus Pass and got a letter to the Railways for issuing me a Railway Pass.

 I have received the Bus Pass today and expect to receive the Railway Pass soon.  Quoting Sandeep, “Whenever I meet anyone from AAG-GRC, I say a big thank you for helping me get the Disability Certificate. It is only because of help from AAG-GRC that I got the Certificate and am now so much better off”

7. Ladli

“I am Ladli 38years old.  I  live with my family at Jaitpur. My husband used to get drunk daily and beat the whole family. He also did not give me any money for running the house. My husband built a relationship with a widow in a neighbouring house and ultimately married her.

I started working as a domestic servant in many houses to make ends meet. I have 5 children, but he did not provide any maintenance expenses for the children even. He divorced me in front of several people on the road according to the Muslim custom.   I then started living separately. Despite living separately from my husband, he used to come to my place every now and then and direct me to return to his home saying he had not divorced me.

One day a woman from my neighbourhood informed me that there is a Gender Resource Centre where under the government schemes, one’s problem is heard and a resolution is brought about. Ladli wasted no time in approaching AAG-GRC. The Lawyer Ms Shane Zehra listened to her and called the husband.  At first he refused to come but finally with pressure from AAG-GRC he came to the Centre. After about five meetings at the Centre the two (Husband and wife) decided to live together for six months trial period. Ladli was told to report immediately to the centre if her husband misbehaved with her. After a few days AAG-GRC representative made a follow up visit to Ladli’s home. We were surprised to learn that the two were living together quite harmoniously.

When we talked to her she said, “I am grateful to AAG-GRC. Thanks to your interventions, my Family is reunited and living happily together. My husband has changed and does not behave like he used to.” While she narrated this, her eyes were shining brightly with happiness.

8. Radha

Radha is originally a resident of Uttar Pradesh. She was living with her family in a village. Her husband was a driver and was looking after the family nicely. Suddenly he started getting ill very frequently. Taking him to the hospital she discovered he had Cancer. Despite spending a lot of money they could not save his life. Then her brother brought Radha to Delhi. Radha has two daughters. For a few days everything was running smoothly. But later a there was discord.

Radha decided to live with her children separately in a rented house. One day she met a Community Mobiliser from AAG-GRC.  She told Radha about the facilities for self improvement available at AAG-GRC and encouraged her to visit the Centre and study.  When she visited the centre, Radha said, “I will not be able to learn to read or write.”

Radha has since then joined Adult literacy classes and is studying there. She has also joined the Tailoring class and has also learnt to stitch clothes (blouses and petticoats) for her children. She also attends nutrition Camps along with OPD as and when she needs to.

She comes regularly to our GRC and learns about government schemes of use to her and her daughters. As a result she has got her UID Identity Card made.

Radha says she was not able to study but she will definitely educate her daughters. Whatever she could not do, her daughters will be able to do and make her late husband and her family proud of their achievements.

9. Rameja Khatoon

My name is Rameeja. My family comprises of me, my husband and Five children. My husband works as a temporary Postman.  Our household expenses are dependent on getting work. We somehow manage to survive. In our family, girls were not allowed to study. Hence I was unable to study. But in today’s world at every step I wish I were able to study and be able to read.

In Muslim families women are not easily permitted to go outside. My life was somehow moving along when, one day a lady from AAG-GRC came to our lane and informed us about the activities of the Centre. She told us that that besides teaching grown up women, there are facilities for women to learn tailoring and to learn to use Computers.   “Well! Allah gave me just what I wanted.”

“I have joined the Centre to learn reading and writing. Here, besides this, we get an opportunity to learn many new things which are useful in one’s life. I saw that they conduct frequent awareness camps about family’s health and about women’s rights. I learnt a lot from these and I have already completed studying the three books for Women’s adult literacy. Now I can read these three books with ease.

Earlier my children thought I was illiterate. Now they have accepted that I am a little educated. Now they say, “It is no longer easy to fool ‘AMMI’! Earlier when they read something, I did not how and what they were reading. I have changed now. Now I can even assist them a little in their studies.

Rameeja says further, “Whether or not others have found the GRC useful, I have found it very useful.” After finishing my literacy classes, I have now joined the Tailoring class and am learning to stitch clothes. After finishing this course I want to assist my husband in making a livelihood for the family.”

“Coming to AAG-GRC, I saw the world and feel that if I had some here earlier, I would not have given birth to 5 children. I would have used some Birth control measures because in today’s world it is so very difficult to bring up 5 children”

10. Now a resident of Delhi  -- Bindu.

I am Bindu. I came from Jharkhand. I am living with my husband and four children at Hari Nagar village in a rented house for the last 12 years. My husband is a carpenter. Even after living in Delhi, I had no official document to prove that I was a resident of Delhi.

“My husband has an Identity Card but even that is at the address of the employer. Even then, I could not get an Identity card made. Before every election, I used to fill the form for applying for an Identity Card but was not successful. I spent a lot of money.  As my husband is a Daily Wager, he was afraid of losing the day’s wage and so was unable to leave work to assist me in getting an Identity Card made.

“One day a Lady from AAG-GRC came on a visit to our village to conduct a meeting.  She informed the audience about AAG-GRC’s activities and facilities for women and children.  I went to AAG-GRC on a visit to find out more. There, another Lady gave me detailed information on Construction workers, Children’s education, UID Identity Cards, availability of medicines and legal assistance etc. Visiting AAG-GRC was very beneficial to me, viz.: -

  1. I got the form filled for my husband as a Construction Labourer,
  2. Two of my children studied at AAG-GRC and later were admitted in a school,
  3. When UID cards were being made, I was very tense as I had no papers as evidence to support my residential status at Delhi. However, the Lady at the Centre, on her responsibility, signed against my thumb print in endorsement and got me registered for the UID Identity Card.”

In Bindu’s words, “I am very happy today and very grateful to AAG-GRC members who helped me get my residence proof. Earlier, despite strenuous efforts and expense, I was not able to get my card made. AAG-GRC helped me get the Card made without any expense.”

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