Single mothers wary of being judged and ill-treated

HYDERABAD: Single mothers from all walks of life have their own struggles, irrespective of their individual economic backgrounds. Apart from being ill-treated by their relatives, or looked down upon, they face difficulties to fit in and be accepted in society. The problem worsens if they have more than a child.

One common problem most single mothers have is that they do not know where to go and whom to ask for help. “There is no emergency helpline number for us. Our only resort is the police,” many said.

Finances become a major problem. “The Rs 2,016 we receive every month through the state government’s Aasara pension is not enough to even clear a basic medical bill,” said Sunita Subhane, a single mother with three children. She works as a domestic help. Even before her children turned 16, she had to ask them to work. She said that in the absence of medical facilities, her husband did not survive.

“The responsibilities increase to such an extent that you feel like giving up everything but you cannot do so you have children to look after. It pains, but my children, two daughters and a son, aged 14, 12 and 13 are working as domestic helps and in a garage as we need the money to pay rent and eat. The government should provide more than Rs 2,016 very month,” said Sunita.

Another single mother and house help, Tulsa K., said that she was harassed when she was about to get married to another man after her husband passed away. She said that her 12-year-old son could not accept his mother getting remarried.

“I was harassed and abused by my landlord who found out I was planning to get married again. He called me a hooker. After I remarried, my son was embarrassed and left home for over two weeks. He took time to accept a new family member, but at the place where we live, people keep taunting us,” said Tulsa.

The situation is more or less similar to working women with a better income and education.

Afreen Fatima, who works for an MNC, said that even the educated ones do not want to accept single mothers as a potential match for their son and call us ‘used’ or ‘bad omen’.

“It feels like we do not deserve to live a happy life. There are uncomfortable questions. My six-year-old daughter is asked about her father and what had happened to him. Even when I go to government hospitals or other departments, they want to know whose fault it was. I am looked at as an 'available' woman. If any man comes to meet me in my house, the landlord creates a big scene and threatens to throw me out,” said Afreen.

Aasara Pension: Rs 2016 per month to single women and widows.

Annual income less than Rs 1.5 lakh in rural areas, Rs 2 lakh in urban areas.

Single women include married women aged over 18 and who have separated from their husband for more than one year

Unmarried women aged above 30 years in rural areas and 35 years in urban areas.

Beneficiary should not be covered under any other public or private pension scheme.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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