Lalita’s fight for property and dignity

Due to debts we almost lost our house. Later when I paid off the loan amount, I felt very happy and tension free.

Lalita is from Pathua village in north Bihar. Her father worked as floor polisher in Delhi, and she moved to Delhi with her mom and sister when she was a month old. In Delhi, the family grew, with the birth of 3 younger sisters and a brother.

Lalita started earning when she was just 10 years oldas her family needed money. Along side work she continued her studies and passed class 8 exams when she was 13, eager to continue studying.

In 2002, her family had to move out of the place where they lived as the government had passed an order to rehabilitate the area. As her father had no money to purchase new land, he was drinking a lot and quarrels in the house were a daily thing. Lalita was very unhappy but helpless, she had to discontinue her studies and was doing part time work to make ends meet.

In 2006, her father took a loan and built a small house. But he was unable to repay the loan, so the property papers went into the hands of moneylenders. The financial sitation in the family was getting worse. Lalita started working in an anganwadi in the morning and in a beauty parlour in the afternoon, earning mere Rs 700 a month. She continued like this for about two years.

In 2010, she learnt about Azad and its programme Women on Wheels through a local NGO, Jagori, where she worked as community worker. At first, Lalita could not join the driving course due to the financial problems, but with the help of an NGO World Vision she was eventually able to start the Women on Wheels programme to become professional driver.

There has been a drastic change in her life since then. She has realized that the world has grown larger, she has made new friends, learned to commute alone from home. It gave her self-confidence.

After completing her training with Azad, Lalita got a job as private chauffuer through Azad’s partner, Sakha. She started saving money and was able to help her family financially.

Few years back during Diwali time, the money lenders came to ask for money Lalita’s father had borrowed. The loan of Rs 35,000 had increased to Rs 200,000 due to an extremely high interest rate. Lalita managed to repay this by taking a loan from Azad. She secured papers from their property back from the moneylenders.

This was a great achievement of her and a proud moment for her mother and father. After this incidence her relationship with her father has changed a lot. Her father started supporting her in all the matters and stopped forcing her to get married.

Lalita has since become a driving instructor at Azad, teaching other women to drive and become empowered professional drivers.

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