Savitri, the festival in which a married woman wishes for the longer life for her spouse, always remains a major festival in Odisha. However, for some unprivileged and homeless, the celebration often remains a challenge as they stay here in Shelter for Urban Homeless (SUH).
Thanks to initiatives by Odisha Patita Uddhar Samiti in association with the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, many inmates or “Savitris’’ worshiped the deities and took blessings and prayed that their spouses would be safe somewhere in the world and be blessed with longer lives.
Sangeeta, a participant said “I had lost my parents from my childhood days and the human traffickers had sent me to Jhansi only for Rs.20,000. Though I had a dream to have my own family, this unfortunate incident shattered my hopes. Thanks to the initiative of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and OPUS, I got a family here. My daughter also got a maternal home. Above all, I was living a hopeless life, but this joint initiative has given a dignified life to me and my daughter.’’
Bishnupriya said “I had married for the second time and bore four children, but still I could not make a family. As I lost the race in life to have a spouse by my side, the SUH family provided a true family and now I am feeling great with the new life.’’
Tirtha, another resident at SUH said “BMC and OPUS have gifted us a life of dignity….Now we are not homeless anymore.’’
Another participant at the Savitri celebration, Puja said “I have got an identity, pride of a life and security and I can pass it on to my daughter.
During the Savitri Puja celebration 13 women participated at the event between the age group of 20 and 30 from the SUH at Ashok Nagar and Ganga Nagar. There are nearly 25 women in these two SUHs.
“OPUS rescued these women and gave them a life of dignity. Today they are celebrating Sabitri with a new life and praying for their partners to come back to their lives as they want to spend rest of their life with them and want to give an identity of father to their children,’’ said Matrumayee, SUH Shelter Coordinator from OPUS.