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Humanitarian response, Health
Advocacy, Disease, Volunteer
13 August 20
Yashma Singh - Sanitize her colony
You can find the strength to help others in your heart
Location: Palwal, Haryana, India
The streets of Palwal consider Yashma Singh synonyms with saviour. She is someone who stands with anyone in trouble. 37-year-old born in Sheikhpura Colony of Palwal District had an encouraging childhood where she was motivated to think beyond the ordinary. Yashma was blessed with the ability to see life with an open mind and is flexible towards changes. Her father is the biggest motivation of her life. The family had a bend towards ensuring education and since an early age she had seen her father being involved in social work. She takes after her father to be fearless, making effort towards equality and not bearing with anything wrong.
She recounts one incident when she was a teenager. It was common for young girls to be eve teased on the way to school. Boys used to stand outside the school with roses on the new year and used to speak to girls in abusive language, if they refused to accept their proposal. This was to the extent that some girls were even abducted and the defaulters never used to get punished because the girls used to be scared and were concerned about their and their family’s honour. One morning, young Yashma was molested but she decided to speak up and punish the boy.
She told her family about this incident and her family supported her. They stood by her and made her voice heard via them. In conservative societies, the men of the family must represent a case and women often cannot take part in such matters. Her father said, “My daughter has not made any mistake, she was going to her school just to get her education, there is no fault of her.” This incident itself showed Yashma's 'Daring', 'boldness' somewhere.
As she turned eighteen, her family got a marriage proposal and the family wanted her to get married. She refused and wanted to continue her education. Under the pressure of parents, Yashma gave a yes for marriage and she was married at the age of 19.
After getting married early, Yashma was finding her identity in the battle of her existence in the in-laws. Somehow, she insisted she passed the 12th examination and passed it but after that her husband completely banned her studies. Yashma considered somehow talking to her father-in-law, completed the course of NTT (Nursery Teaching Teacher) and tried to keep her dream alive. After being forbidden to study from her in-laws' side, she got into her family life and after the birth of the son they moved to live in Pune where her husband worked.
On the way to the market one day, she saw a pregnant woman whose husband was taking her on a bicycle. The lady went into labour and Yashma along with some women helped deliver the by encircling more than a few saris and dupattas and clothes from the side. This was the time when Yashma felt the need to do something for the society and hospital infrastructure.
Determined to do something, she approached some people and was given the post of District President by the local Agricultural Society. But She immediately understood that this place is not for her, she could not bear the corruption. Seeing social discrimination and social problems, she felt like changing the society.
She moved back to her hometown and was deeply disturbed by street children not having proper clothing during winters. She went home and talked to her husband about this, but her husband refused to help her on the pretext of finances involved. After much convincing, they collected some money from neighbours and added their contribution. They arranged for 100 sweaters and distributed them to the children in the school.
Then the caravan started and people joined her deeds, even though her husband did not welcome some of her decisions, but after slowly understanding her actions, he supported her. She organized a 5-day blood donation camp for a disease called Thalassemia. Thalassemia is a disease in which there is a lot of blood loss in the body of children or adults. But there are two aspects to every work.
She slowly started getting recognized. Some social contractors of the city opposed her and tried to harass her. She fought them back did not allow their threats affect her work.
She felt strongly about maintaining greenery, along with some organizations, she distributed 5000 plants and also planted 100 plants which is safe till date. The children of Yashma are very proud of her, they say that mother you are our source of inspiration.
She filed a complaint to the authorities regarding the degrading road conditions, she was pressurized to drop the matter but Yashma did not give up and went to the local officer with some women. The officer incharge to get to the bottom of the matter and today it is a result that the road has been constructed in that street. With the support of children and husband, she also acted selflessly during the lockdown. Where Yashma made a pass after taking permission from the authorities that she could get out and her duty was to make people aware about social distancing, especially in public spaces like banks. For 2 months she used to do this work with full honesty and boldness. The entire time they had to carry sanitizer and mask in their hands so that if a man or women did not bring a mask, they could give them that mask and social distancing could keep them intact. During this work, Yashma also did the work of distributing food from door to door. She went from door to door and distributed 15-day rations to people's homes. They were all migrant laborers who came from outside and lived in Palwal for their livelihood, they did not have work due to the lockdown. With the help of several people and organizations, she distributed ration to 2000 families. From time to time, a cleanliness drive was also carried out by the cleaning staff and the mask and sanitizers were distributed to the cleaning workers. Along with some women of her organization, she went door-to-door to distribute sanitizer and masks to women and also started awareness campaign against Corona virus. Some women of her organization also made mask, they used to do cloth work by bringing cloth to their homes and distribute it to the public. She has also produced mask, for a higher education University. In the future, she wants to see a police station being built in her street. She believes that girls are not safe in their area. So, a police station is very important for the safety of children. He has also demanded to build a School presented for girls so that girls do not have to go far after tenth standard to complete their studies. They believe that people only see their own, their aim is to change the thinking of the people, respect them towards the girls and change their behaviour.