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  • The children playing in the Cheshire Home garden break off to greet a young woman walking in through the gate. Yashodha’s daughter Anita has come to see her mother who is a resident at the Home. Her exams. are over and she will soon find a job with her degree in Commerce. Her gentle mother smiles and puts her arm around her. She is so proud of her, but what a struggle it has been.
    Coming from a conservative farming family where only her brothers were allowed to go to school while she and her mother worked hard to maintain their home and farm, Yashodha showed a glimmer of independence by refusing to marry an aged widower whom her father seemed to favour. At 20, she married Jayaram, and came home a year later for the birth of her baby – Anita. The baby was healthy and Yashodha was happy but soon, disaster struck. A sudden and unexplained pain in her leg ended with her having to have the limb amputated. The family went into debt in this process of getting her treated at a well known Bangalore hospital. Disastrously, soon after, the pain struck her good leg too, and it ended in another amputation. With both legs gone, Yashodha refused to go back to the village. The Hospital Social Worker who had given the family a lot of material and psychological support through both amputations, referred her to the Cheshire Home. Here she was fitted with new legs and taught to walk. She also learnt tailoring and embroidery at the Craft Centre run by the Home. Two years later she made an attempt to return to the village but it did not work out and she came back to Bangalore with Anita. For a while she lived with her brother and found a job in a garment factory but her brother was worried for her safety and so she had to leave this job. She kept visiting the Cheshire Home to meet her friends and on one such visit she landed a job to work the lifts at Manipal Hospital, which is just across the road from the Home. She moved back into the Home while the kindness of various friends and colleagues ensured that Anita secured a place in a hostel and received good school and college education. The job as lift operator became both tedious and painful after a while, and Yashodha switched back to tailoring at the craft centre; she continues in this trade.
    Meanwhile, seeing her own daughter bloom through school and college, Yashodha felt that her two nieces in the village were deprived of similar opportunity and hence, she contacted various charitable organisations until she found one that would take them in and educate them.
    Now Yashodha is on the threshold of another momentous move in her life – she and Aswatha, a friend and fellow resident at the Home, have decided to move out into a house taken on lease and live independently. Aswatha receives a pension from the Government on account of her late father having been in government service, and Yashodha plans to supplement this income by taking in tailoring orders. Anita will move in with them to complete the household of gritty, determined and loving women.