TUMAKURU: Barely into her teens, she was married off and even had two daughters. A huge tragedy struck her when she lost her husband just four years later. But it was her indomitable spirit that saw her turn into a guardian angel for scores of women who had been pushed to the streets by their families.
Now 38, Yashodha takes care of about 45 destitute women. “I was forced to marry my relative at the age of 13 and I lost my alcoholic husband at 17. I was shocked, but I faced life like a rock. I managed to complete my BBM course as well. Now, I am happy that I am able to contribute to society,” she says. She has been pooling in from her own earnings as an insurance company agent, besides raising funds from philanthropists, to run two destitute homes.
While her older daughter is pursuing a medical course in the Philippines, the younger girl is studying engineering in Bengaluru. What motivated Yashodha was the snub at a shelter home in Bengaluru in 2013, where she had taken a woman she had found on the streets. The authorities there told her they were full and asked her to open a shelter home herself if she was so concerned about the plight of such people.
Taking up the challenge, Yashodha set up the first shelter home with three people whom she had found by the roadside, at a rented house in Ashoka Nagar here. Now, she runs two such homes, one at Jayanagara East, where she has constructed a building on a rented site for which she pays Rs 2,000 per month, and another at Upparahalli. The first one can accommodate about 28 women.
‘Now this is our home and we are family’
“Recently, we found one Manjamma on the streets of Sakleshapur. She had not bathed for years. With the help of Women and Child Development officials and police, we got her here,” said Preetham, secretary of Sharadambha Trust.Gowramma of Maddur and Kempamma of Chikkanayakanahalli have similar stories. They refuse to talk about the past or their families. “This is our home and we are family,” said Nina, who was rescued from Bengaluru.
“The cook at the home, Lakshmamma, has been like a daughter to the inmates. The warden Yashodhamma works without expecting remuneration. Our home is on a rented site and if the administration grants us a site we can construct another building,” said Raghavendra, one of the trustees. Doctors Praveen, Malini and Keshavraj provide free services in case of health issues.
Philanthropists can contact the shelter home on 0816-229006.