I noticed a common problem faced by women in India is countering age-old customs and traditions that restrict them from leading a good, happy life.
Hence, there is a need for these women to find a forum, a platform, to come out of the cocoon created by such traditions and live a life of freedom.
Here CFCA mothers groups play a vital role in uplifting womenís dignity and empowering them.
Sofia is a mother of three girls, one of whom is sponsored by CFCA. Her husband is an alcoholic. He suffers bad health and is unable to work.
When Sofiaís husband was in good health, he would harass her just because she gave birth to girls. He wanted a boy who could carry on the family name.
When he saw that the third child, too, was a girl, he deserted Sofia. When his health started to deteriorate, he returned.
Although Sofia was happy that her husband came back, her burdens increased. She not only had to meet her day-to-day expenses and take care of the children, but she also had to take care of his medical expenses.
At times it became difficult for her to meet emergency expenses. Thatís when Justina, a social worker in CFCAís Chaderghat community, put forth the problems faced by Sofia in one of the mothers group meetings.
Immediately, other mothers in the group came forward and pooled some money to help Sofia.
Gousia, a mothers group member from the same community, has two daughters. Her elder daughter, Chandini, is sponsored by CFCA.
Gousia’s husband left her and married another woman. Gousia is now the sole breadwinner.
Like other mothers, Gousia attends and participates in all mothers group activities. This has helped her to gain confidence and has made her strong.
When her ration card was taken away by her husband, the regular meetings in the community gave Gousia the strength to get back her ration card.
(A ration card is issued by the government to purchase provisions at subsidized rates. It is also used as an identity card and proof of citizenship.)Kamala, another member at the same community, also had problems in her life. Kamala was very interested in education and wanted to study, but because of early marriage she had to discontinue her studies.
Later her husband gave her permission to continue her education. This took a lot of her time, which always clashed with her domestic chores. Yet her determination saw her through.
Now Kamala advises other members to allow their daughters to study, and tells them the importance of education.
With the help of this group and CFCA representatives, Kamala helped to prevent two marriages of sponsored children in their community and encouraged the children to continue their education.
Problems of domestic life are not only faced by Sofia or Gousia or by others. Such problems are faced by all people, regardless of religion or caste.
CFCA understands that to help and educate a child, the best way is to empower and establish the life of the mother. A mother cares for the future of her child.
CFCA works without regard to religion, caste or creed, giving dignity to the deprived and under privileged. It works toward the betterment of society, bringing harmony in a community of diversity.
Because of CFCAís sponsorship program and group activities ó a CFCA Hope for a Family initiative ó during my visits to the CFCA projects, I observed the transformation in the lives of diverse people marching toward a better future and quality of life.