They have electricity just for two hours a day. A mother, her two children, her mother and father-in-law and her husband. Her husband suffers from mental illness. They live in Bihar in very rural areas in a small house. A smokeless chullar with a van that does not work, a solar collector that gives light for a small lamp during the night – for a few hours.
But she is strong and gives her best – whenever she can make it. Since a few years some educational programs are offered, and here and there she can gain 1000 to 1500 rupees, means ca. 15 -20 EUR – monthly. She tries to learn as much as possible: filling out forms, laws, tax knowledge, business planning, PR, and much more about primary health care. She learns to identify where medical help is really needed, esp in front of those who are not sure whether it is needed to spend money and go to a doctor or if house remedies are sufficient – and informs women about opportunities to learn and taking the initiative while selling napkins to the neighbors. Three rupees per package. She convinced her parents-in-law that her family should run a pilot for biogas plants in collaboration with a NGO and opened the door for those who want to see it, she added some additional income.
When she tells us about her work and family, all family members sit beside her. Even some neighbors have joined and listen. Her father-in-law proudly smiles on her.
“I want that my children can get as much education as possible and that we can repair even the remaining things here in the household. My husband needs a lot of care and my parents in law support me wherever possible.”
When I ask her for her personal future goals, I’m surprised: she is one of the few women who can reply immediately: “I have started to give health information to my friends and neighbors about hygiene and nutrition. I want to achieve even more and become a really community health worker. I have started to inform women about domestic violence and where to get help from. There is too much violence here in the surroundings.”
When we leave, the father shows us some vegetables and a cutting machine. He explains that they have started to cultivate a kitchen garden. “The machine … we could buy it because of her and the kitchen garden is even an idea she had”, he adds.
There is still a lot to do – but there is hope that this family can succeed.