How Tara helped thousands of senior citizens receive their rightful pensions
Meet Tara, our Citizen Champion from Basia, Jharkhand, who has helped thousands of senior citizens in her district receive their rightful pensions.
Coming from a tribal family with parents who had limited education, Tara's early arranged marriage put a pause on her schooling but her determination to learn persisted. In 2013, Tara's life took a turn for the better when she became associated with our friends at PRADAN. It gave her the confidence to step out of her house and the courage to connect with new people. Through PRADAN, she attended our training session in 2017, where she learned about constitutional rights and gained the skills to raise her voice when the rights of others are denied.
After the training, she began working on issues that were close to her heart, starting with her mother-in-law's pension. She wrote a letter citing the relevant sections from the Constitution and sent it to the Block Development Officer. Within just 15 days, her mother-in-law's pension was approved! This marked the beginning of her journey as a vocal advocate for her entire community, reaching out to thousands of citizens in her district. Presently, out of the 2200 applications submitted for Vridha, Vidhwa, and Viklang pensions, 1700 senior citizens are already receiving their pension, and there is an ongoing effort to process the remaining applications.
Now serving as a Sarpanch, she continues to advocate for social justice, active citizenship, and fraternity, as she mentions “I tell people to speak up about their problems because if they don't, their issues won't be resolved”. Remembering past experiences with caste-based discrimination, she aims to eliminate such social evils. In her community, the people now engage in joint activities and have open conversations about ending all forms of discrimination.