Social Support Group :

A new group was formed in July 2003, which was called the Social Support Group. The members would work to help women whose lives had been shattered by circumstances. They were either separated, divorced, locked in unhappy and violent relationships, or experienced bereavement and were unable to cope. The Social Support Group organized programmes to help them pick up the shreds of a shattered life and craft a new future for themselves. Amongst other things, counselling sessions, yoga and meditation sessions were organized with professional help.

How it all began...

A young student comes to Sister Carol A.C., numbed by the sudden and tragic loss of her husband, leaving her traumatized, utterly helpless and with the daunting task of bringing up two very small children. Her dishevelled state and her reluctance to pay attention to her appearance, because of the social stigma attached to a widow being well groomed and well dressed, set Sister Carol thinking of life and its unfair deals. Out of her concern for the hapless state of young widows in our society was born the Social Support Group. The year was 2003 and when Sister shared her anxieties with a small group of ICWA members, we readily agreed to form this core group within the I.C.W.A.

9 th July 2003-The Project was introduced at the Women's Cell meeting
30 th August 2003- The first Meeting of the commitee was held.The women who needed support were identified
7 th Sept 2003- First Meeting of those needing or likely to supply The required social support.

We got in touch initially with young women left grappling with situations that they were unable to handle because of the sudden loss of their husbands. We got them together for a few sessions of sharing and an instant rapport was struck as they realized they were not alone with their grief. These initial sessions of sharing helped us also to formulate our future plan of action.

We realized that widows felt marginalized and in order to have a more inclusive society we needed to make people at all levels aware of the existing discrimination. With this in mind, the Social Support Group on 25th April 2004 organized a function at Ravi Bharti, Patna, where snippets from films, dealing with the maltreatment of widows and women on their own, were shown to teenagers from the economically challenged sections of society and their responses noted. This was followed by a discussion on the different sets of rulesfor widows and widowers in Indian society.

Through further meetings of the Social Support Group we decided that counselling sessions with trained counsellors, as well as yoga sessions for de-stressing should be organized for helping the women who were now an integral part of our group. As we went along, the Social Support Group also started including women coping with failed marriages and with divorcees. The first counselling session was held on 5 September 2004 which was conducted by Dr. Sister Margaret Mary A.C. and for the 2nd session held on 27.02.2005 we invited Mrs. Paromita Saha - another trained counsellor to conduct it. These counselling sessions proved very helpful and we found remarkable changes in the women who now began picking up the threads realizing how important it was, as the counsellors told them, to grieve and then move on with their lives.

Our first yoga session, with trained Yoga instructor Mr. Ramesh, aimed at de-stressing and relaxing, proved very effective. In fact, the counselling, yoga and meditation sessions met with such a positive response, that ICWA members also expressed their desire to attend them. We, therefore, have now been regularly organizing yoga and counselling sessions with wider groups including College teachers who are members of the Social I.C.W.A. Core Group.

We have been on the road now for five years and ours is the joy of knowing how the dishevelled student, who really started it all, is today confident, in control of her life and of her beauty, working and bringing up both her children. Others who come to us have also taken hold of their lives, rebuilt them or are in the process of putting them together.

Life stories cannot have a "lived happily ever after" fairy tale kind of ending but, as the tears give way to smiles, in some corner of our hearts, we say a silent prayer and then move on, for we have only just began.

Trained counsellor Mrs. Paromita saha who regularly conducts those sessions says :

"In today's stressful world , what people need is take to professionaly qualified persons, and the social support group of ICWA has done a wonderful job in organizing such sessions .I wish ICWA success in their endeanuours and hope that they continue to help more and more people desperately needing such service"

Members of the Project:

  • Ms. Neeraja Lal
  • Mrs. Anjana