Srinagar, Dec 21: Khalida Begum (name changed), the widow from south Kashmir who has three daughters is struggling to get them married.
Her husband was killed by army in Nineties and since then she has been struggling to meet her daily needs. Her two daughters, Shafiya and Raziya had to leave the studies midway as they could not afford to pay for education.
“My two elder daughters have crossed the age of 30 and I am struggling to get them married,” Khalida said.
Her daughters have reached marriage ages but Khalida do not have money and resources to get them married.
“Today, everyone is looking for financially sound and working women unfortunately all these sorts can’t be found in orphanswhich is troubling us,” she added.
Like Shafiya and Raziya, there are many other orphan girls in the valley who are awaiting their marriages. There more than 50 such cases in the old city as well who continue to suffer silently.
Ghulam Mustafa, Administrator Officer Jammu and Kashmir Yateem Trust said that the trust provides wedding assistance to 400 orphans girls .They pay Rs 12 thousand to the each orphan girl.
“The number of orphans in the valley is increasing day by day. No day is passing without killings leaving their orphans to live in miseries,” he said.
He said that his organisation receives more than 400 applications from orphan girls, widows and destitute.
He said that the orphan girls can’t offer dowry and bear the huge expenses of the marriage. “People are becoming more materialistic and do not think about those who are living in misery.”
“People are creating customs and giving dowries to their daughters which is creating a trouble for others. If people will follow religious ways no girl will suffer and find difficulty to get the groom. It is the responsibility of youngsters as well to follow the religious ways to get married,” said Mustafa.
“Some people are coming forward to offer helping hand to the orphan girls but some are still slumbering over the issue. There are thousands of orphan girls who are still waiting to settle in their lives,” he said.
Another trust for orphan girls at Laway Pora has registered 165 orphan girls with an aim to get them married.
“ We are trying hard to get the orphan girls married. We have almost helped 130 orphan girls to get them married. Some of the girls are donot have a proper age for marriage,” said an official of the trust.
According to the orphanage officials, 90 per cent of the orphan girls have already crossed the 30 years of age.
“Not only orphan girls there are other poor families who are struggling to get their daughters married. Even some are suffering silently,” said Mustafa.
He said that it is the responsibility of the society to help orphan and poor girls who have less takers in the valley.
The J& K Yateem Trust has registered more than 600 orphan girls in their orphanages.
“ We have around 250 orphan girls in just four orphanages. They are presently studying in different classes’. We are helping them to get education up to higher secondary. People should come forward and marry the orphans,” Said Mustafa.
Mustafa also said that there are no accurate number of orphan girls who do not get the grooms. “But there are thousands ofgirls who are registered in different orphanages. Also, there are girls who are still unmarried due to the poverty.”
“Delay in marriages is a concern for all of us,” he added.
Manzoor Ahmad (name changed) who is also helping the poor and orphan girls to get married, said that there is a stigma attached in the society to marry orphans as people are after the materialistic things rather preferring religious ways. “I have seen so many unmarried orphan and poor girls who do not get a groom. I have helped three to four who are from old city but there are many others who need help. Most of the girls are overage now.
Mustafa said that they sometimes get offers from the people to marry orphan girls but they didn’t get them married without proper verification. “We rejected the offers because we were worried for their safety.”
He said that their organization is also helping five thousand widows and poor families to meet their daily needs.
“ We are trying our best to help those who are approaching us. We give them essential things which are needed on daily basis,” he added.
He further said the trust also conducted cash assistance and livelihood programs which proved helpful for the widows, orphansin the valley.