I had wished for a fairy tale marriage but life had other plans for me. Just a few months after my marriage in 2002, my husband and his family started harassing me for dowry. It was the same year when my daughter Roohani was born, and along with her came more torture and suffering. First, my family refused to accept my daughter and also kept me away from her.
I didn’t see or feed my daughter for 3 months from the day she was born.
After torturing me for few more months my husband fled and filed for a divorce.
I returned to my home, but another tragedy struck. My father passed away, and soon other relatives started forcing me to remarry. They pressurized me to also abandon my daughter and started afresh. But my mother and brother supported my decision not to remarry and also continue raising my daughter.
Soon my relatives ostracized and boycotted us from all social gatherings like marriages, parties, birthdays, etc.
During this time my daughter Roohani was my strength. It was her smile that helped me survive through all the pain and suffering. It was her who made me think about similar young girls who would be a victim of a bad marriage and other social evils.
I thought about the poor kids who work as domestic helps, laborers, etc. for whom it must all the more difficult. They may not be able to fulfill their dreams of affording a good education, going to good school and leading a happy and content life.
I decided to do something about it. I decided to help kids who are deprived of education and help them build a life. I coaxed my domestic help to educate her daughter, who dropped out of school after her 2nd grade owing to financial problems. I helped her rejoin school and supported her till her class 12. She is happily married and using her education to support her family.
With this thought, I moved on to the next chapter of my life – that of helping kids who have suffered.
Sometime around 2012, I got to know about an after-school program organized by daughter’s school to impart education to the under-privileged children. They invited all the parents to come forward and support. I signed up and started teaching over 80 kids.
I could see a lot of spark and willingness to learn in my students. This motivated me and helped me build immense positive energy and strength. This was the time I thought of starting to teach students at my home. I looked around for children who could not afford education and school and encouraged their parents to educate them. I provided them with all the study material and financial support I could.
The challenge was the lack of money. To overcome it I began taking tuition classes in the evenings. That Income, along with the contribution from my brother, was put into meeting the needs of my students.
Fast forward to today, I now teach and support over 54 kids as part of Roohani Foundation. Their smile is my biggest strength. As the number of children is increasing we are planning to start a school where we shall provide free education, free food, and all basic amenities.
It’s been 13 years and I am still fighting my divorce case. I have learned to move on with my life and family — a family of 54 loving kids.
Story Source: The Better India