Single women struggling for survival in far-west region

BAJURA: Single women, who lost their husbands early on in life, are facing a hard time earning their livelihood in the far-western region.

According to them, they have also suffered due to lack of cooperation from family members and are struggling for survival along with their children.

Thirty-year-old Laxmi BK, a widow of Jugedi, Dhangadi Municipality-12, has been working as a daily wage labourer after her husband died three years ago. “If I don’t work a single day, I cannot feed my five little kids,” she said.

Her husband died of HIV/AIDS three years ago. “All the time, I am anxious about rearing, feeding and affording their education,” said Laxmi.

Her family gave her one kattha land after her husband’s death and disowned her. She manages a shanty for her family. “I didn’t know hardship until my husband died. My family members do not cooperate,” she said. She roams around the city area looking for labour work every day.

Pashupati BK, 32, another widow of the village, has four kids to look after. Hence, she is compelled to work as a daily wage labourer to feed her kids. “Sometimes I go to the brick kiln and sometimes I go to under-construction buildings seeking work, otherwise I can’t manage two meals a day for the children,” she said.

Though the government provides Rs 500 each month for widow, it is enough for nothing.

“If we don’t earn at least Rs 200 to 300 a day, we have no chance of managing two meals a day,” regretted another single woman Mina BK of Barhabise of the district. “Delicious and nutritious food items are out of each,” lamented Mina, mother of three children. She said the health situation of single women is miserable.

Parbati Budha, Single Women Rights Network Bajura Chairperson, said the situation of almost every single woman in all nine far-west districts is miserable. “When the women become single due to the death of their husband, they are deprived of power and property by their own family members, fearing that they may tie the knot with other persons if they are given property,” said Budha.

According to District Court Kailali official Naba Raj Pandey, the office has received many complaints of single women being deprived of property. “ More than 70 per cent single women in the far-west region are are hard put due to non-cooperation from the family, said Bed Awasthi, Coordinator of Single Women Rights Network far-west region.