Because her sister couldn’t bear children, Seva Bai was married to her brother-in-law when she was 15. At 18, her husband died in a car crash and she was a widow with one little child and another on the way.
Confined to the premises of her house and forced to wear dark clothes, Seva Bai could only see obscurity in her future. That was until she met an Ekal Nari Sashakti Shakti (ENSS) group leader and started attending group meetings. This gave her the will to break out of restricting customs in order to find a voice of her own. Through these meetings, she has gained the strength and confidence to live a full life, and acquiring reading and writing skills has made her more independent than ever before.
Change Alliance has been working with SHARC (Samuel Hahnemann Associates and Research Centre) and ENSS to work for the welfare of single women and advocate their rights to live with freedom and dignity. Together, they’ve empowered women to fight for their rights. Old customs oppress widows/ divorced women but Change Alliance’s intervention has given new meaning to the lives of these women. SHARCH-ENSS has over 23,035 members across 35 blocks of 14 districts of the state and is still growing.
As a result of the persistent hard work to bring the situation of widowed women to light, Jharkhand Government made a change in the policy in 2014, announcing pension for all widowed women in the age group of 18-39.