Women are very weak. They cannot sustain any hardship; leave aside facing a calamity. Women are simply a weaker sex. Their confidence crumbles easily and quickly. Like some orthodox men, I used to profess a similar belief about women, however with the passage of time; my experiences have radically reformed my view.
I looked around and found some exemplary stories and the intensity of the aforementioned thoughts about women found their way to extinction. Gradually I began to find and accept the reality engraved under the corners of biases and judgments.
I turned highly inquisitive to great stories of women and all of them paved a way to emancipate the vulnerable feminine section of the human society. My urge to break the stereotypes led me to travel and engage in journeys.
I along with my other team members went to Nowgam for a story in the last of July, around 3 Kms from Sumbal area of Bandipora District. I met a widow named Khadija, an exemplary lady for a great chunk of women around.
Khadija, in her early 40s is living with her three children; two daughters and one son. She lost her husband to manhandling by some notorious men, and she is unaware about the course of law in the case. She has no knowledge of any investigations carried out to identify the culprits, and she has no news of the reports of any conviction.
The irony is that she has never been compensated by the state neither have local charity committees/centres/organization reached her. Her entire support came from her family and relatives.
The lady was further devastated by 2014 floods, and she lost her house to the roaring waters causing massive problems to her and to the sustenance of her children.
The recurring pains had grown her stronger and she again received help from her family and relatives.
This time NGOs did come to her service. As I talked to her she appreciated the intervention of NGOs after 2014 floods and said, they were the first one after Almighty to react to our calamity and to move us from death to life, otherwise we were lost our hope to live. Those NGOs helped us in many ways; as in resuming our normal life again and coping with the trauma caused by the flood. Khadija sustained the tough times raising her children and grooming them well.
Fighting the tragedies, Khadija became confident and courageous. She fought with full valour and strength defeating the challenges and threats, she faced. She says, ‘there’s nothing impossible, if your willpower is strong’.
Kadija appreciates the works by Reliance Foundation, IGSSS, KOSHISH, etc. These NGOs made women of the area self-reliant. Koshish, a local NGO of Jammu and Kashmir while focussing on social empowerment of women and children agenda came up with a livelihood project in the flood hit area-Nowgam.
Koshish developed a Base Line Data (BLD) and came up with a Rights Based Approach to observe sustainability in their intervention. The team provided provisional shops, stationery shops, cattles, tailoring machines, etc. in consideration of beneficiary’s potential. This helped women a lot.
Khadija was provided with a provisional shop in March, 2017 for her livelihood. Khadija says, ‘it is as if I’ve found a way, a weapon to fight with my hardships. Now I’m able to pay tuition fee of my children. Not only that, now I’m able to think about my children’s future.
Khadija emerged as a brave lady, resilient to tragedies and daring to the challenges of life. She provided education to her children besides the worst of hardships.
Khadija is an example to those who lose confidence in the hard times and fail to survive. She has proved her strength and made a point that no matter what, a lady can win over the battle of life under any circumstances of fate.
Women across the vale have a lot of stories to tell and we must document them to present the resilience of our nation.
Author is Independent Researcher and Aspiring Social Worker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.