A 65-year-old woman who lost both her sons and is raising her grandchildren came to receive a kit of basic necessities of food, clothing and bed linen.
A 57-year-old woman who lives alone and earns a living by making paper packets was among the many in the queue.
Widows above the age of 55 from financially deprived families who are abandoned or striving hard to make a living for their families but have nobody to turn to received a mosquito net, bedsheet, sari, food packets and hygiene kit among other things.
Over 500 women received the kit and many of them broke down while talking about their plight, in the programme on Sunday.
Raising funds to give out kits to so many women was a challenge this year. “It has been a hard year for many and for many of these mothers their children have no jobs and it was essential that we reach out. The kind of heartfelt response we received from many of them was unprecedented,” said Shubadip Roy, chairman of the Maa (Mother’s Apt Appreciation) project this year.
The initiative started in 2016 with 200 women.
The numbers kept swelling each year because the need was so acute and reached 1,000 in 2019, said Roy, a part of Rotary Club of Calcutta North East District 3291.
The number was reduced to 500 this year because of the pandemic and the organisers held it at the grounds of Simla Byayam Samity to maintain distancing.
Suchitra Ghosh, mother of Bandhan Bank managing director and CEO Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, was present on Sunday to hand over the kits.
The struggle to raise money or organise a programme was worth the effort when 85-year-old woman Sokhi Naskar who is bedridden was wheeled in a cycle van.
The women got the kit against a coupon that was issued to them. The lockdown and the pandemic has hit many of these women hard.
Sabita Das, 57, whose husband worked in a shop lost her husband to a kidney ailment about a year back. Her daughters are married and Das took to making paper packets (thongas) and would stitch a sari fall to earn a living.
She would get Rs 40 for 220 thongs. “The lockdown turned everything upside down,” said Das in between tears.
But Das has not given up. Neither has many women like her.
The kit is worth Rs 2,500 but for many of them who are struggling to make ends meet it is much more.
“My daughter does a small job and we somehow manage. For us buying a mosquito net or a bedsheet is not easy. We have to save for months to be able to do that,” said K Pal.
Source : Telegraph