Living in the Ghat: Gulsan Supports Her Family on "Women's" Wages

Gulsan Sheikh (center) has been a widow for many years. She has raised 6 children by herself in the poverty-stricken, lowest-caste neighborhood of Harishchandra Ghat -- the poorest of the poor. This neighborhood is adjacent to Shaktidhaam Ashram.

Gulsan Supports Her Family, by Herself

Gulsan supports her family by working as a laborer on building sites. She earns less than $5 per day (the normal rate for a man is $5; as a woman she earns much less).  She works manual labor, 7 days every week, at least 8 hours every day. Manual labor means everything is done with hands – their are no buckets or shovels.

In addition, Gulsan runs her household and raises her children.

In the labor class, workers like Gulsan must get paid at the end of every day so they can buy food for the next day. This is typical of families in this area. Supporting a family of 5 on a woman’s income is extremely difficult and they often go without food or have very little. Even small treats or new clothes are impossible.

Gulsan’s children are like most in that they have 1 or maybe 2 outfits. They wear the same thing every day, and as children grow, they receive hand-me-downs from older siblings.

Gulsan's Family Home

Gulsan’s family home is typical of homes in the Ghat. It’s dilapidated and very basic, with just a few rooms and sparse and often no electricity. All of the family members (7-9 people) sleep in one room

Parts of the home have holes in the roof, due to age and lack of money for maintenance. These holes are covered with tarpaulin to keep out the heavy rain during monsoon season and the penetrating sun’s rays at other times of the year.

The children are regular visitors to Shaktidhaam, participating in the holiday celebrations and partaking in the hot meals at the bhandaras. The oldest, Mohuran (19), offers seva from time to time.

Gulsan's life is not the typical life of a woman in Harishchandra Ghat. But the poverty, the daily food insecurity, the living conditions, and the condition of the home are very typical of families in the Ghat.

We Can Make a Difference

With your help, we can make a difference for everyone living in this Ghat. We can change their lives, one child, one meal at a time.

Tuesday, November 29 is Giving Tuesday. 

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of radical generosity. GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Since then, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

Light Legacy and Shaktidhaam Foundation have received a match commitment from several individuals and business owners in our Sai Maa Community. In other words, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar.

On Giving Tuesday (or anytime between now and then), please help support families living in Harishchandra Ghat who struggle to feed their children at all, much less healthy, nourishing meals. Because of generous people like you, we can make a difference in their lives.

“Feed one person, just one person. And if you can afford to feed more than one, please do so. Start to realize there is somebody that you know on a soul level who needs to be fed.”
~ Sai Maa

Monthly Donation

By making your donation a monthly gift to Shaktidhaam Foundation’s Just One hunger program, we can provide crucial support for families who live with constant food insecurity.