Hello folks, you may have noticed that I haven’t said much about the Asha Womens Groups and how the members have been impacted by Covid. They haven’t been able to have large meetings for nearly two years now, and everyone can sense the loneliness they are experiencing, after being so used to wonderful weekly meetings, and accomplishing such enormous tasks for their communities for years. Many have suffered a great deal of financial distress, and the Asha family has stood with them all through these two years.
Here’s a story of one of them, a 60 year old woman called Ramwati, who lives in Asha’s Zakhira Slum Community. Her life exemplifies the lives of hundreds of women like her.
Ramvati became one of the first Mahila Mandal (Women’s Group) members of Zakhira slum community. She was keen to gain knowledge on healthcare and absorbed all information on health shared by the Asha team during the weekly meetings. She would help share this knowledge with her community members, and became instrumental in highlighting the importance of healthcare interventions such as vaccines, maternal care, tuberculosis treatment, and so on.
In the year 2012, Ramvati was unanimously voted by the other members of the Women’s group to become the new President of the group. Her hard work and dedication had become an inspiration to all the women in her community. The Asha team in Zakhira wholly supported this choice and congratulated Ramvati on her new role that came with much more responsibilities and decision making.’
As President, Ramvati was instrumental in providing leadership to develop the infrastructure in her community. The Women’s Group in Zakhira under her leadership, visited multiple elected politicians representing Zakhira. Drainage systems, sewage networks, bore wells and toilet blocks were constructed. The entire community began to look much cleaner and nicer.
When the pandemic happened, Ramvati’s husband like thousands of other slum dwellers, lost his job as a daily wage labourer. He was earning about 7 dollars a day on the days he got work. But once Covid happened, he had no work, not even for a day. The family had no savings, and Ramvati started to panic. However, the Asha family came to her aid immediately, and provided her with groceries and financial assistance to help the family survive during such terrible times.
Even after the first wave, the future looked bleak for Ramvati’s family. Her husband set out every day in search of opportunities to get work, but as most businesses had faced huge losses, there was hardly anyone looking to hire and provide daily wages. To help her family, Asha continued to provide them with essentials and funds.
No sooner had the first wave receded, than the second wave hit shortly thereafter. Her situation and that of her family got even worse.
Today, the second wave has abated, but has left behind great poverty for her family and many families like her.
Her husband gets work one day a week or once in two weeks. The Asha family continues to provide for them. That’s what family is all about, right?
In spite of facing such serious personal struggles, Ramwati decided to be an Asha Corona Warrior, and a champion, spreading awareness and safety protocols to all her community members. She has made it her mission to help people realize the severity of this disease and the importance of wearing masks. And she has been successful!
When the vaccination for the elderly began in early 2021, Ramvati and her husband were among the first couples to register and receive the vaccine.
She was then able to speak to her community members to dispel various myths on the harmful effects of the vaccine. Many elderly community members followed in her footsteps and she personally accompanied them to the vaccination centre.
Thank you for standing with Ramwati and hundreds of women like her, many of whom you have met in the past. What would they have done without you? You are true and faithful representatives of what Family stands for.