[Survivor Series] We had to borrow money to fight the physical abuse my daughter faced

My name is Sridevi and I am 37 years old. I live in Gobichettipalayam Taluk in Erode district. We are a family of five; I have a daughter who is studying in 10th grade and my son is studying in 8th grade. My husband (Chinathambi) is a driver and my mother-in-law (Muthamma) also stays with us – she is very old and sick.

I am a garment worker and have been working as a tailor in a clothing store in Tirupur for nine years. I receive my salary on a weekly basis and I have FP and ESI allowances. My husband also receives a sufficient salary; our lives were going well and we were living smoothly before the pandemic.

However, after the COVID-19 lockdown, the problem started day by day. We have no assets or savings held for the future; what we earn is only enough for daily commitments. In the early days we were successful with what we had. Later, it became difficult to meet daily needs and medical expenses.

Suddenly my mother-in-law fell ill and had no more money to take her to the hospital. We kind of took medicine from the nearby medical store and treated her at home with the help of a nurse who stays in our village. During this time, my daughter was physically abused by the neighbor. It was a serious and sensitive issue for us, but we were empty, thinking about how to handle the situation.

So, Rural Education and Action Development (READ) and Erode District Women’s Federation walked us through dealing with the issue and then we filed an FIR under the POCSO Act. To cope with such problems, we again had to borrow money from money lenders.

On the other hand, with all these pressures, we were faced with huge problems with food and basic needs. The situation forced us to eat rice and dal (ration) received from the PDS and this only lasted a few days.

Once again, we have fought against hunger and poverty and the situation has brought us to a very low standard of living that we were not aware of. In such situations, READ has supported us with the relief of the dry ration with many items in quantity and quality.

These items brought strength and hope to survive in the days to come and after a month they provided us with the grant amount of 2,000 rupees which was also helpful.

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