Born in Amanishah, Jaipur in the year 2003 Fareen Qureshi’s life has many turns and twists from the very beginning. She had to leave her father and their house to shift to her maternal home when she was just 6 months old. Her mother Rizwana was married off to a man with mental illness without the knowledge of her to be husband’s mental condition. On top of that, her husband’s family was maltreating Rizwana and her children by not giving food, abusing, and beating her. Fed up of sustaining the harassment for a long period Rizwana finally decided to return to her maternal home but that too was not the same as before her marriage.
With mother, Fareen was now living at her maternal home with grandmother, two maternal uncles, two maternal aunties, and their kids, and two unmarried and one married Aunty in Shastrinagar, Jaipur. All of them were trying to manage to live under the same roof and survive. In the hope of improving the situation, her mother made a second attempt to sort her married life but the results were even worse, now she had one more daughter to raise, Sana who was 2 years younger than Fareen.
Surrounded by so many people Fareen still felt lonely and she was struggling to find her identity. She liked to go to school and study with interest but the condition at her home worsened with time and she had to drop out when she was in fifth grade to take the charge and help her mother in earning for the family and managing the household. So this thirteen-year-old girl was now left alone supposed to fight the world, she started taking care of her grandmother, did daily house chores, and helped her mother alongside in the work.
From that point onwards her life took a different turn and her books were replaced with sewing machines and homework with the targets to complete daily making of Kada and bangles. Even when she thought life could bring nothing but misery, she learned her work with equal passion- started tailoring for an entire suit after laces and borders; she spent days in stitching a suit that brings hardly 100-120 rupees for each finished clothing item. However, tailoring was a customer-based business with no fixed income thus for the stability of income she and her mother started side work in the decorating of Kada- a special kind of bangle and bangles for mending intricate designs on those. She started making 15 rupees per Kada and for bangles, 40 rupees for a bunch of 40 bangles. Even while working for a whole month with two sources of income and all three of the family member working 10-12 hours a day they could only earn one thousand or at maximum a two thousand per person, the amount that could barely suffice their basic needs.
Adding to the adversity, due to the pandemic people spending on extra cloths decreased and also the demand for these bangles has reduced and so is the price, now she could only make 30 rupees for a bunch of 40 bangles and thus her family had to work extra hours every single day to get the minimum required income.
Her younger sister, Sana who is 16 years old is suffering from pneumonia for the last four to five years and is constantly requiring assistance and thorough care. Despite her physical condition, Sana tries to manage her study as well as helping her family in earning as much as she could, she manages everything at her best. Although due to this, Fareen has to assist her sister in many ways and take care of her medical expenses in addition to their basic needs.
At the age of 18, Fareen has seen enough of the bad things the world could offer and as many adversities that people could not witness in 80 years of lifetime. Her life has taught her many lessons but her academic was left unfinished, narrowing her options to get any better job opportunity and have better pay. Pratham in its yearly survey got to know about her situation and her zeal to study, and under the ‘Second Chance’ program took the responsibility for her boards’ examination.
Just when things started to fall in place, an unforeseen problem arose at her father’s house and despite their bad behavior her mother decided to help the family in hard times, Rizwana moved back to her paternal house leaving Fareen and Sana with their grandmother.u