Mubeena is a widow residing in Tauru block, in Nuh district of Haryana. She has four children and the eldest of them is just fifteen years old. Three years ago, her husband passed away. She has hardly any means of income and is a marginal farmer. Due to severely limited economic resources she faced a lot of hardship. She had no option but to decrease expenses on basic necessities like food and education, among others.
Mubeena was eligible for a widow pension, however due to her lack of education, she was not able to fill out the required forms and negotiate the government departments by herself. She appealed for help to the anganwadi worker and sarpanch, but was unheard.
As part of a CSR-supported project implemented by S M Sehgal Foundation, a group of women elected representatives (WER) was set up in her village. Since June 2021, monthly WER trainings were conducted to empower the participants and enhance their leadership qualities, so that they too could bring about positive changes in their village.
During one such training held in September 2021, Mubeena discussed her problem with the project team, who then assisted her in properly submitting the application form with all the necessary documents. As a result in December 2021, Mubeena started receiving her widow pension of INR 2,500 per month—a significant amount for her, which she spends to nourish and educate her children.
Now she consistently attends WER trainings and motivates other community women.
Mubeena says, “I had felt that I would never get my pension. But after learning so much in WER trainings, now I even have the courage to help other women like me.”
Authors: Hanisha and Saurav Sriwastva
(Hanisha is field assistant and Saurav is Project Associate in Nuh)