When Susan, from a village in South Karnataka was studying in eighth standard, she was married to her cousin. It was a forced marriage where her husband was not mentally sound.
As Susan’s parents did not have a son, they thought that marrying her off within the family will help them retain their family property.
Her husband soon committed suicide because his family member eloped with a boy from another caste. Susan became a daily wage labourer to support her family.
Susan then met staff from the Initiative for Married Adolescent Girls Empowerment (IMAGE) programme, a joint venture by Terre des Hommes and Arpanam Trust. Initially it was difficult to talk to her as she was silent and never opened up.
After months of counselling, she finally expressed herself.
Analysing her situation, the IMAGE staff provided her with access to various government schemes she was entitled to. She was given an Aadhar card, a Widow Pension certificate, a bank account and a ration card (food security card).
She says, “I am grateful to Arpanam Trust and TdH for their support. They connected me to many schemes and I have benefitted a lot from it. Aadhar card gives me identity, I get pension, I have learnt how to operate a bank account and I can avail many services because I have a ration card. I did not know all these things were important.
Now I am glad I have access to them.”