Foster Care Society is incredibly inspired this woman, a community advocate who lives near our Family Support Centre, to keep her family together. She is constantly smiling and looking to the future to give her family the best possible life, despite a past full of trauma and pain. Her husband, while very financially supportive, was constantly worried that she was going to leave his home, so she was chained for four years, only unlocking her for using the toilet. He had another wife who had six children. When the other wife’s eldest daughter was married, the family discovered that her new husband’s family was not a suitable arrangement for her. The father went to bring the daughter back into his house, but she went back to live with her new husband. Shortly after, the father became depressed. Living in a community that often stigmatizes getting mental health treatment, he did not seek help. He quickly became physically ill with high blood pressure, and multiple blood vessels in his head burst. His family rushed him to a local hospital where they operated to try to save him. He was on a ventilator for seven days before he was officially pronounced dead. This was devastating for the family, both emotionally and financially. At the time of her husband’s death, her eldest daughter was 16 years old, and her youngest daughter was one year old.

The community came together and raised funds to help support the family, but the money was taken by the other wife’s eldest daughter and her husband. The woman spent four months at home grieving. Shortly after her husband’s death, her eldest daughter fell ill with Typhoid and was beyond the point of recovery when she arrived at the hospital and was transferred to a hospital in another state for extended treatment. She eventually died at that hospital. During this time, the woman was unable to care for her younger children and upon returning home, she found that her youngest had an immunodeficiency disorder and pneumonia. She was hospitalized for a month before she reached full recovery.

The two years following her husband’s death, the woman was unable to leave home and grieved deeply for her daughter and husband during this time. She realized the urgent financial need of her family and took up stitching work. This generated enough income for her family that she was able to enroll her daughter’s in a local school with a positive reputation. She is confident that her children are receiving a meaningful education there.

Currently, her eldest daughters are 23 and 22. Both of them do stitching work at home. They are the family’s only source of income right now. Foster Care Society’s Family Support Centre connected the woman’s son to enrollment in Palanhar and she hopes to get Palanhar for her two younger daughters. The woman herself is trying to get connected with a self-help group which she can lead and get paid a stipend for each month. She is currently receiving widow pension. The youngest daughter, who recovered from pneumonia as a baby, is now six years old and thriving. She is enrolled in a great school and hopes to be a doctor when she grows up.

The woman is a picture of resiliency, always looking to give back to her community. During summer camps and special activities for children hosted by the Family Support Centre, she not only brings her own children, but brings neighborhood children who want to attend, ensuring their safe arrival and return home from the events. Her future hopes include getting her two eldest daughters connected to income generation schemes around stitching and further training so that they can continue to support the family.

The woman has been married five years. She is from a village two hours from Udaipur, and after marriage moved to Udaipur with her husband to be with his family. They live in a joint home with her father-in-law and two of husband’s brothers. Her husband was diagnosed with throat cancer a year and a half ago. They have a four-year-old son. One year ago, he had an operation for cancer and has been unable to work since then. He was readmitted to the hospital four months ago and the doctors say that his condition is not good. The woman’s father-in-law is too old to support the family financially. Her two unmarried brother-in-law’s are auto drivers and do not make enough to support the whole family either.The woman has never attended school, as her village did not educate girls. She cannot read or write and can only sign her name. She desperately wants her child to receive an education. Last year the child was in school, but now he is not able to go because the family does not have the money to pay for school fees. Her son says that he likes school because he learns poems, gets to play and color pictures, and enjoys studying.

The woman is seeking stitching work so that she does not have to leave the home since she cares for her husband. Parivar Sahyog Kendra is seeking opportunities for her son to receive education sponsorship and for her to get stitching jobs at home.

The woman has been married 6 years. Her husband has a blockage in his heart and she was unaware of his heart condition before the marriage. Throughout their marriage, the heart problem has gotten worse and often blood stops flowing to his heart and he has to seek treatment. Doctors have warned that he can become even more seriously ill at any time if he doesn’t receive the appropriate treatment. His doctors are wanting to operate, but the sister’s in-laws do not wanting him to get the operation because the operation has a high risk associated with it and there is no guarantee that it will fix his heart condition. The woman wants her husband to get the operation, but without the support of his family she is worried about getting in trouble if something goes wrong.

Previously, they were living as a joint family with her husband’s parents. They were kicked out of the house when the husband’s condition worsened because they were having a hard time contributing to the household. Her husband is still working 9am-8pm every day. He cannot do heavy work and often becomes lethargic. Though he works a lot, he does not earn much money.

The woman went to school until seventh grade. Her son is 5 years old and she wants him to have a better education than the one he is received. She has made many sacrifices for her family. Last year they were in a huge debt because of school fees and rent for their house, so she sold all of her gold jewelry in order to pay off the debt. She works from home for stitching but does not make enough to cover the family’s needs.  She is currently not enrolled in any government schemes.
When asked about the future needs of her family, the woman said the main problem is her husband’s medical needs. She wants his family to change their minds about his operation. Her son’s education is not permanent right now, as he is needing a long-term sponsor to pay for school fees and tuition. She doesn’t want her son to have a gap in his education or lack proper schooling because of their financial situation. Her son is very social and plays well with the other children at school and in their community. He enjoys coloring and being at school with his friends. She also hopes to get connected to income generation activities through the Family Support Centre.

This family includes an 8 year old girl who lives with her paternal aunt and uncle. At the time of the girl’s birth, her mother was selling flowers and her father worked in a hotel in Ajmer. When their daughter was born, she had a low birth weight and would not take her mother’s milk. Because of this, she remained in the hospital for an extended time. The father became addicted to drugs and alcohol. The mother chose to divorce her husband due to his substance use and she became a “nata” (left her marriage and daughter to live with another man). She signed away her parental rights to the girl when she was 5 months old and brought the girl to live with her husband’s sister.

The girl has been living with her aunt and uncle for 8 years now and calls them mother and father. She does not know the story of her background and biological parents. Her aunt and uncle have two older sons. The eldest is 17 years old, is married and works as an auto driver. Their other son is 16 years old and also works as an auto driver, though he does not contribute to the family expenses. Both boys dropped out of school after 5th grade because the family could not afford to pay for it.

Recently, the girls uncle was diagnosed with severe diabetes. He is over 60 and retired as a taxi driver. He is becoming weak and due to his old age is not able to work. Last month, he was hospitalized for 14 days and the woman had to sell possessions from their home in order to pay for his medical bills.

The family’s only source of income is a room that they rent out. When her uncle was working, the girl was able to go to English Medium school since the family had a steady income. Now, there is no way to guarantee the girl’s education and her aunt often has to go door-to-door in their neighborhood to ask for money. Her school fees each month are 700-800 INR.

The girl’s aunt has reached out to her father, but he is living on the streets, begging and severely addicted to drugs and alcohol. He is not in a condition to take the girl, raise her, and/or support her. The family wants to have rights to the girl as she is very attached, and they are the only family that she has ever known, but first they must get her biological father to sign off his rights. This is difficult as he lives in a town far away and is not reliable for meeting.

The family is not currently enrolled in any government schemes. They legally want to take Palanhar for the girl’s educational support, but are unable to provide documentation that they are legal caretakers for the girl. The aunt says that she would be very grateful towards a donor, corporate or government, for the help in supporting the girl’s education. She is a very bright girl and is capable of doing well in school. The child does not want to shift from private to government school because she doesn’t want to leave her peer group or the level of education that she is receiving. Woman never received an education and she wants to see the girl succeed and be able to stand on her own two feet and have a role in the community. The girl hopes to complete school and become a police officer when she grows up.

Ganeshi is a 30-year-old woman who is seeking sponsorship for her family. Ganeshi’s first marriage occurred at the same time as her sister. The men that they married were part of a fraudulent scheme and Ganeshi’s sister was sold by her husband. As a result, her sister became very depressed and committed suicide. This was a frightening experience for Ganeshi. She was unhappy and went to community leaders to seek community separation form her husband. This was granted and Ganeshi returned to Udaipur to live with her parents.

After a few years, Ganeshi’s family placed her into a second marriage though the woman was hesitant to be married again. She and her new husband were living in another district outside of Udaipur. At first, the marriage was acceptable. However, one of her husband’s family members started rumors about her being a prostitute and unfaithful to her husband. As a result, her husband became a severe alcoholic and began abusing her verbally and physically to the point that Ganeshi had to run away with their two young daughters. She moved back in with her parents in Udaipur. She is afraid to move back in with her husband but is desperate to have a stable income and help with their children. Her husband sent a recording of a death threat saying that he wants custody of their daughter’s and afterwards will kill Ganeshi and her parents/siblings.

She was in an accident where her collar bone was broken, and her surgery was botched so she will never fully recover. Because of this, she now cannot do heavy work. She is currently working as a maid as much as possible and earns about 500 INR/month on average. Her mother also works as a maid and receives 1000-1500 INR/month. Ganeshi’s father is aging and has eye problems so he cannot hold a steady job.

One daughter is 3.5 years and the other is 2 years old. They are currently in nursery school due to the school being flexible with fees due to their unique family situation. However, this arrangement is not sustainable for supporting her children’s education. Ganeshi has never been to school but wants her daughters to get a quality education, regardless of how her marriage turns out. The woman hopes that her husband will be open to reunifying the family at some point. However, if her husband cannot agree to accept her back, she is going to put her daughters in an orphanage because she is unable to care for them physically and mentally in her current state. Sponsorship for Ganeshi’s family would keep them together and not force unnecessary institutionalization of her children due to poverty.