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

In this week’s Survivor Series, Sridevi tells us about how she overcame the physical assault of her daughter while dealing with poverty at home.

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

I am a garment worker and have been working as a tailor in a garment shop in Tirupur for the past nine years. I get my wages on a weekly basis and I have PF and ESI benefits. My husband also gets sufficient wages; our lives were running smoothly, and we lived with no problems pre-pandemic. 

However, after the COVID-19 lockdown, the problem started day by day. We do not have any assets or savings kept for the future; what we earn is only sufficient for daily commitments. In the initial days, we managed with what we had. Later, it became tough to meet daily needs and medical expenses. 

Suddenly, my mother-in-law fell sick and had no money to take her to the hospital. We somehow took medication from the nearby medical shop and treated her at home with the help of a nurse who stays in our village. Meanwhile, my daughter was physically abused by the neighbour. It was a serious and sensitive issue for us but we were blank, thinking of how to deal with the situation. 

So, Rural Education and Action Development (READ) and Erode District Women Federation guided us throughout handling the issue then we filed an FIR under POCSO Act. To deal with such issues, we again had to borrow money from the money lenders. 

On the other side, along with all these pressures, we faced huge problems for food and basic needs. The situation forced us to eat rice and dal (ration) received from the PDS and only it sustained only for a few days. 

Again, we struggled with hunger and poverty and the situation took us to a very low level of livelihood which we were not aware of. In such situations, READ supported us with the relief of dry ration with many items with quantity and quality.

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

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