“इतने बुरे दिन देखे है ना सडकों पे, अगर ये बच्चे न होते तो हम कब का खुद को ख़त्म कर लिए होते”- Pooja
Pooja a 44 year old female from Raibareilly, Uttar Pradesh decided to part ways from her husband in 2013 when she was unable to endure the abuse he subjected towards her. He was physically, verbally and sexually abusive with her and also engaged in marital infidelities. He also could not provide for his family as he was addicted to alcohol and one night, when her husband in an intoxicated state started beating her and screamed obscenities, she decided to terminate her ties with him and left the house along with her 4 year old son. She reached Charbagh railway station in Lucknow and having no idea of what future holds for her, she sat at Charbagh railway station and then near Khamman Pir Majjaar in Lucknow, which is an ancient mosque and attracts a huge number of devotees due to its sanctity. Seeing no other option, she started begging here to ensure her and her son’s survival and sometimes she picked up leftover morsels of food from dustbins when food could not be arranged, to feed herself and her son. “अपने बच्चे को और खुद को जिंदा रखने के लिए भूख में कूड़ेदान से झूठन भी उठा कर खायी है” Unable to receive conducive environment for growth, her son got under bad influence and became addicted to tobacco, alcohol, whitener, nicotine and marijuana at a tender age of 7 years. One day when her husband visited her and requested her to come home along with him as he assured her of not committing any violence towards her, she agreed and went back home, but to her dismay, nothing changed in his behavior and he repeated the abusive behavior with her. She decided to leave the house after some time, but this time she was pregnant with her second child. Absolutely clueless about what tragedy her fate has written for her she returned to Lucknow and resumed begging when in the eight month of pregnancy while she was lying on a footpath, a jeep came from behind and hit her resulting in premature birth of her daughter and her becoming partially handicap from waist and legs . Recalling her 8 years of ordeal in begging she is filled with emotions she can’t explain and tears come running down her eyes seeing her 21 year old son and 8 year old daughter who are the only reason for her staying alive, as had it not been for them she would have committed suicide long time ago because of the misery she endured on streets. “इतने बुरे दिन देखे है ना सडकों पे, की अगर ये बच्चे न होते तो हम कब का खुद ख़त्म कर लिए होते” She thanks Badlav for her new life as when they came in contact with Badlav they had no such skills and awareness of earning and living a life of dignity. Leaving beggary was a challenge which they successfully overcame when they received interventions and support at mental, physical, social and economical level from Badlav. Her daughter now attends school and her son works at a go down while she has a mobile shop of tobacco, chips, masks, water bottles from which she earns 500-600/- per day. Through regular workshops and counseling sessions at Badlav, the family was reunited and her son discontinued consuming substances of all kinds. “हमें ज्यादा कुछ नहीं चाहिए बस दो वक़्त की रोटी मेहनत और इज्ज़त के साथ अपने परिवार के साथ कमा के खा पा रहे है यही हमारी नया जीवन है “She now effectively manages her family and her micro business and is staying at rent in a room and ensures to deposit money regularly in her bank account which was opened by Badlav when she started earning decent amount of money.