“So much changed. When there was a wedding in the family, for the first time I did my own shopping. I felt so good that I didn’t have to ask my father or bother,” said Rukhsar happily.
“She isn’t married,” chipped in Farah from another corner, intending to explain why Rukhsar mentioned ‘father and brother’, instead of husband. After all, traditionally it is the husband who takes care of a woman’s needs. Not that Farah’s husband has been a great help in that department.
“Hardly anything is left to spend on me madam; after paying for the children’s school fees and ration for kitchen. My husband has a small income,” Farah revealed, with extreme reluctance. She doesn’t like to share her story as it brings up bad memories. But today she is financially independent, and is proudly running her household.
Rasheeda has three sons, one of whom has cerebral palsy and is paralysed from the waist down. She was born in Nizamuddin Basti and grew up making and selling needles at the Nizamuddin market. Today, she is a fine crochet artist with the Insha-e-Noor family, earning a salary of Rs 12,000 per month and supporting her son’s health care.
These are just some of the stories of change, from the women of Nizamuddin Basti.
Stories that started with the Humayun’s Tomb-Sunder Nursery-Nizamuddin Basti Urban Renewal Initiative, a public private partnership (PPP) between the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) and Aga Khan Foundation at one side and the Archeological Survey of India, Central Public Works Department and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (now South Delhi Municipal Corporation) on the other.
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