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June 21, 2015

A tale of helpless widow


June 21, 2015

The life has never been easy for 40-year-old Afshan, but after the death of her husband it has become terrible.
Feeding four young daughters, paying out the rent of a single room house and taking care of herself, have been extremely difficult for her. Adding fuel to fire, she herself is not physically healthy enough to bear hardships of life due to severe burns injuries. She suffered burn injuries in a gas cylinder explosion, a few years ago in which she luckily survived but the injuries left their mark on her whole body.
Afshan is the resident of Tench Bhata, Rawalpindi, and she is sharing even the single-room with some distant family relatives. She pays Rs2,500 as her share of rent for this single room shelter by tailoring clothes of the neighbours and other inhabitants of the area for which she charges meagre amount. People may give much higher charges to some other tailors at their known shops for sewing clothes but for Afshan it is a Rs200 job per suit.
She told this correspondent that 8 years ago her husband, Saddaqat, died due to cardiac arrest and her youngest daughter was hardly two months old at that time.
Afterward, the life for her has been getting from bad to worst in almost all respects. First her in-laws left her to suffer alone, and secondly a terrible accidental gas cylinder explosion took away her health too.
"Due to the cylinder explosion almost the entire of my body badly burnt but I remained alive as it was the command of Allah. Otherwise, I myself wonder how I survived 70 per cent burn injuries," she comments.
Surviving from this incident multiplied the difficulties of this helpless widow as now she needs medicines too to keep her healthy enough to fight the bitter struggle of the survival especially for her kids.
"Summer days are always challenging for me as burn injuries badly ache during this season and little bit exposure to the Sun is extremely painful. However, instead of taking medicines I

prefer to get food and other basic necessities of life for my daughters," Afshan says.
When inquired whether she is registered with Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) which gives a meagre amount to its beneficiaries on monthly basis she said unfortunately she is not.
She said she attempted a lot to get her registered with the programme and visited its offices on number of times but in vain. After taking so much trouble she left the hope to get herself registered with BISP as visiting some offices also needs fares to travel to.
The death of her husband also badly affected the education of her daughters due to scarcity of financial means although she wants reasonable education for them.
"I have passed many days of life while suffering from starvation but I can't see my children to starve. My sewing machine is my sole mean to earn bread and butter for my family.
I wish there should be no loadshedding of electricity so that I could meet sewing clothes deadlines of my women clients but long hours of loadshedding affect my performance as a tailor," she said.
Afshan appeals to the government functionaries and philanthropists to help her financially for getting life bit easier for her.
"Ideally I need shelter of a home even that of a single room of my own, for my daughters so that we could feel bit secured. Provision of funds for opening a tailoring shop would also be enough for me to make our both ends meet," she appeals. The government functionaries or the philanthropists may contact her at: 0321-5505901.

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