Aparna Nair was among the core team of members who met on the very first day the India Helps team came together last December, spending an hour pouring over the list of the dead and injured at CST. Aparna, a lawyer by profession, has been earnestly working with Momina Khatoon over the past year.
This is what she has to say about her journey:
A year has gone by since 26/11, the dreadful day. Every Mumbaikar will always remember this day. It has been engraved into our minds. But 26/11 brought a group of us together who wanted to do something, help those who have suffered.
It has been a year since I met Momina, the wife of the taxi driver whose husband died in the Vile Parle Bomb Blast. From the day I met her till today she has changed a lot. Initially she was a heart broken women who knew she couldn't leave the city to ensure her children get an education. The news of her fourth pregnancy came a week or two later, after her bereavement.
She has emerged stronger over the past year, with each meeting I have had with her. She has learnt how to use the mobile. She knows how to dial and reach me. She has
been speaking boldly to all people who have come to meet her regarding her finances and the help she needs.
Earlier when we would counsel her about the need to stand on her feet and become financially independent, she would brush the topic aside, but today she has taken small steps towards the same. She has started gajra making independently. I think every incident in life makes you stronger and that is what 26/11 did to Momina.
I think 26/11 taught me that I need to thank God for everything I have and learn to value everything we have.
(Picture courtesy TOI)
Momina Khatoon Sheikh
(i) Name of the deceased/ injured, occupation and approximate monthly earnings at the time of the casualty:
Deceased: Mohammed Umar Abdul Khalid Sheikh, (35) Taxi driver. Earnings approximately Rs 4,000-5,000 per month.
(ii) Where did the casualty occur:
Killed in the taxi explosion in Vile Parle
(iii) Dependents (number and details)
Wife: Momina Khatoon Sheikh (30), Children: Arbaz (7 yrs), Faizal (4) and Afzal (2 yrs) and the baby boy (3 months).
(iv) Details of the situation at that time:
Momina was new to the city, having arrived in Mumbai only 8 months ago. The family stayed in a small room in Govandi with a monthly rent of Rs. 1500. Eldest child had joined school. She was pregnant, without savings and had no immediate means of supporting herself, not being trained in any specific vocation. She needed medical attention as well as moral and financial support. Was dependent upon the money given by people when they visit her and the money received from the Government.
• Treatment and medical expenses.
• Education of the children.
• Interim help with daily expenses – rent and groceries.
• Long term solution for expenses and livelihood.
(v) Details of help/ support provided by IH: Hearing of Momina’s plight in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, India Helps went to meet Momina to work out her exact and immediate needs. Immediate fund raising efforts were started, through the blog, word of mouth and using the media. It helped her pay for her monthly house rent and groceries, and also proposed and followed up on the status of her case at the Taj Trust. IH provided medical assistance for Momina’s pre and post-natal care in the form of doctor’s visits, regular counselling and follow-up visits.
(vi) Media coverage: