Prabhavati: Breaking male bastion in the slum community

Meet Prabhavati, wife of a daily-wage labourer dwelling in Asha’s Jeewan Nagar slum community. Prabhavati, a mid-aged tea-seller, is breaking all the stereotypes in a patriarchal society with her fearless stature.

The chink of the pot and glasses awake the whole slum community before the sun rises every day as she starts brewing tea. The aromatic beverage tempts not only the community dwellers but also the passers-by.

Wedded to a labourer, Prabhavati migrated from Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur to Delhi some 40 years ago. Being blessed with the three daughters and a son, both started toiling hard to earn and feed the family well but with a meagre monthly income of Rs 3-4000 per month, their happiness has always suffered.

Slogging day and night, she married her daughters off and now her only son, Durgesh has been working with Asha from past 5 years. “I remember how careless I was in my 10th grades. It was Asha, which intervened and helped me get a good percentage through the mock tests and sample papers. Also, I got admission in an Industrial Training Institute and bagged a job in Asha immediately after completion of the course,” says Durgesh.

“I can’t forget the days when my mother kept her nose to the grindstone only to make our future bright,” he further added.

Due to a heavy downpour and thunderstorm, several shanties capsized about 12 years ago. Prabhavati’s shack was one amongst them. Unfortunately, Prabhavati got her leg injured and the family had to take loans for her treatment. She limps till date. But she never lost faith and kept her determination intact. “I had to sell my gas stove to pay my son’s fees in his 10th grades. But I am thankful to Asha that they guided him well and now he is not only earning but serving his community as well,” says Prabhavati, with a wide smile on her face.

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