[Survivor Series] I was a helpless mother and had to beg for food for my daughter

By Malika
In this week’s Survivor Series, Malika, a garment worker, talks about how she struggled to make ends meet at her home.
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I am Malika (32 years old). My daughter Mythili and I live in Bharathi Nagar of Sathyamangalam Taluk in Erode district, Tamil Nadu and work as a tailor in a garment factory in Sathyamangalam. I got married to a person who belongs to the upper caste as his second wife. Both of our families opposed the union and did not accept us as ours is an inter-caste marriage. 

Although our families did not support us, we were managing and running the family smoothly. My husband already had a son before marrying me. After the wedding, we now have a daughter as well and the four of us were living together in Salem district. After my parents’ death, we moved to my village (Bharathi Nagar), built a house, and have been staying there. 

One day, my husband and my son suddenly met with a road accident and lost their lives on the spot. After my husband’s death, my life returned to being a struggle. With a three-year-old child and with no support, I was struggling to fill our stomachs. I was very introverted, very shy, and sensitive person. 

During this time, Rural Education and Action Development (READ) team regularly met me, gave me counselling and built my hope to face life. Then slowly, I came out of the house and became one of the members of the Community Support Group. Later, I joined a garments factory in Sathyamangalam and started to earn. I used to live with my daughter under the care of ICDS, and she continues to stay at the centre until I am back home from work.  

I was managing the needs and commitments of the month with the salary. But after the lockdown, I was really in trouble because my livelihood completely depended on the wages I got. 

Due to the lockdown, people who lent me the money when I was in difficult situations started asking me to repay because their families were also facing the same problem, but I was not able to manage. At that point, I realised the value of the ration card which I do not have and don’t get any benefits from the government. It became a nightmare; my daughter used to cry with hunger asking for food, and I, as a helpless mother, could only beg for food for my daughter. I used to sleep many nights on an empty stomach. 

In this situation, READ supported us with the basic essentials of raw rations and also supported with Rs 2,000. This was really useful to me and till now, I and my daughter are surviving with READ’s support. 


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Edited by Kanishk Singh

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