Hyderabad: Widows, single women living in extreme poverty in old city, reveals survey

Out of the widowed women, 76 percent lost their spouse due to chronic health issues

Hyderabad: Widows, divorced and abandoned women are living in extreme poverty in the old city of Hyderabad. Their male children are doing daily wage jobs after dropping out of school.

As per a survey conducted by the Helping Hand Foundation, most widows are living in rented spaces. They work for their survival.

The survey was done across five major urban slums covering 35 bastis and colonies. The urban slums covered were part of Rajendra Nagar, Hasanagar, Achi Reddy Nagar, Shaheenagar, and Jalpally.

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Findings of the survey

Out of a sample size of 1528, 76 percent are widows, 18 percent are single women, and six percent are divorcees. 46 percent of women were above 50 years of age, 26 percent between 41 and 50 years, 19 percent between 31 to 40, and the rest 8 percent between 20 and 30 years of age.

Out of the widowed women, 76 percent lost their spouse due to chronic health issues, 18 percent lost due to natural death whereas, six percent due to accidental deaths.

Around 71 percent of the widows said they live in rented spaces, 22 percent live in their own houses built on 30-40 sq. yards space and 6 percent are living in charitable donated spaces. Almost all those living in rented spaces said that nearly half of their income goes into paying the monthly rents.

For their survival, 50 percent of the widows work as domestic help or maids in houses whereas, 36 percent of women are dependent on their extended family for monthly support and 14 percent survive on Alms from neighbours and relatives.

School dropouts

The survey also revealed that 68 percent of children of widows, particularly male children between 8-15 years of age have dropped out of school in the last two years and are doing daily wage jobs like working in tea stalls, hotels, sweet shops, small factories and earning between Rs 100 to Rs 150 per day to supplement household incomes.

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Mujtaba Hasan Askari of Helping Hand Foundation said that the social security for widows and single women is inadequate, moreover, the wages they earn are low in the old city, both need to be addressed by the government and civil society.

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