The Optimist Citizen
Mission Army Widows Empowerment

A teenager’s attempt to bring light in the dejected lives of hundreds of Widows of Martyred Jawaans

For most people, their teenage years are a swirling mixed bag of emotions and introspection. Some spend their years in uncertainty, worrying about the future, while others think about their greater purpose in life and make an effort to bring about a change in the society. And one such person with a heightened sense of purpose is 16-year old Gauhrishi Narang.

Gauhrishi is a resident of Mumbai and is currently a student of a school following the IB curriculum. When she was expected to choose a project as a part of her Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) component, she instantly made the decision to choose a cause which often stays hidden beneath the horizon, unheralded to the common eye. After a lot of consideration, she decided to work for the army and the women who get widowed when their husbands sacrifice their lives for the country. She saw how often these women were exploited by relatives who snatch away their pensions or s skewed system wherein they are unable to find a suitable source of livelihood.

After having decided on the cause, the next step was to reach out to the right people. With the help of Zila Sainik Parishad and the support of welfare officer Captain Ratnaparkhi, she could finally reach out to the right crowd. She then went ahead and took permission at various stages of planning from both the school and the Zila Sainik Parishad. While the project was initially aimed at supporting the widows financially, it now focuses on their diverse needs.

This gave birth to her initiative, Mission Army Widows Empowerment or better known as Mission A.W.E. Mission A.W.E works not merely to raise funds for these women, but assist them in conserving and growing their income. Gauhrishi is also involved in livelihood-generation programmes, finding suitable employment opportunities, and providing legal assistance in times of need for the widows.

What initially started as a school project has now become an initiative working on a large scale. Gauhrishi’s mother, Shabeen, who has worked with companies like Reliance and Citibank for almost 26 years is also actively involved in the project and hopes that they will continue to work with similar enthusiasm even after Gauhrishi moves overseas for her studies.

Khyati Pathak | TOC

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