Poverty and Broken Home but No Broken Spirit: Story of Slum Girl Seema

This is the real story of a girl from the capital city’s slum rehabilitation colony. Poverty, parent’s fighting leading to separation, financial challenges of raising five girls by a single woman i.e. her mother- she has seen it all but is channelizing her energies in finding solutions to the problem rather than adding to the problem. Read this inspirational story of this young girl. Name changed to protect identity, but all details are authentic.

“I am Seema, a 23-year-old resident of Shadipur, a bustling yet impoverished colony in the heart of Delhi. It is better known as a slum of Delhi. It was here that I was born and raised amidst the daily struggle for survival, and my story is one full of woes of not just of poverty but also broken home.

Growing up, I witnessed the tumultuous relationship between my parents, with my father, Ramswarup, prone to short-tempered, abusive outbursts. My mother, Meena, bore the scars of his rage—physical and emotional wounds that told a story of suffering no one should endure.

The discord within my home gave rise to a deep aversion within me, towards the idea of commitment and marriage. The constant turmoil, the absence of unity between her parents, sculpted a negative perception of relationships, convincing me that happiness lay beyond the confines of domesticity. But deep within was a strong conviction and belief that there was a world beyond this world which I must explore.  My struggles, both internal and external, propelled me towards a path less travelled.

In the academic realm, I was an average student, never the topper in my class. Yet, deep within, I harboured a burning desire to break free from the chains of boundaries that bound my family. I aspired to become a social worker, a beacon of hope for my community where essential support and services were a luxury few could afford.

My dreams became my refuge, a sanctuary from the chaos of my home life. Despite the weight of our struggles, I clung to my faith in God as a guiding light, finding strength even in the darkest moments. Depression was a constant companion, fueled not only by my family’s challenges but also by the stark contrast between my dreams and the harsh reality of daily existence.

As I approached a crucial juncture in my education, doubts crept in. The pressure to excel and the limited opportunities in my community loomed large, casting shadows on the path I wished to tread. However, I realised that academic excellence wasn’t the only avenue to make a difference.

With unwavering determination and guided by the grace of God, I enrolled for graduation by correspondence in English Literature. I really wanted to study at college but could not as I had to financially support my family. I have four sisters and the eldest is 25-year-old and I am second eldest amongst them with the youngest one being 9 years old.

I decided to channelize my energies become a social worker, dedicating my life to supporting those suffering in my community, just as my family had. Initially, my elder sister and I used to spend time outside as parents would fight excessively. I was trying to find a place where I could spend sometime and found a refuge working for this orphanage, in that place and their problems. When we spent time with the kids at the orphanage, we got to know that there are children facing worse situation than us and suffering for no fault of theirs. We started teaching them and that made us so happy.

My Nanaji has been my pillar of strength and support system. Also, my elder sister was main support since my childhood- she has supported me financially, mentally and spiritually. She was the one who encouraged me to study English Literature which I could only do by correspondence as I had to earn (by taking tuitions of children) while I learn.

I became deeply interested in studying English Honours and in my final year even got a full-time job on a writing project with a company. Today I have enrolled for my post-graduation in English Honours for which I have to run myself from pillar to post to get the forms, fill it up, study during my travel to workplace in metro. I hardly get time to sleep as my house is also small. But my dreams are big and slowly I feel life is in control and is not that bad, after all.

My transformation, from an average student in a Delhi slum to a budding social worker, exemplified the profound impact one person can have when driven by empathy and understanding. I became a bridge between my community and the resources that could alleviate their hardships, my work extending beyond the boundaries of Shadipur.

My story resonated deeply with my community, inspiring others to believe in the possibility of change, irrespective of societal expectations. Through my actions, I shattered the notion that success was solely defined by academic achievements.

I am Seema, and my journey from the darkness to light is a testimony to the power of determination, faith, and the indomitable human spirit, guided by the grace of God. Also I have some blessings in my life such as my sisters are my real strength and also some angels who helped me along the way. There are many nice people in this world and some of them can be strangers too, who go out of the way to help you and pull you out of your problem. I surely want to be like them as it will also be my payback to the world by being one such person.”

(Seema is now successfully employed in a vocation of her choice and is happily engaged in the development sector where she says she is “curing others and healing herself” while simultaneously studying MA English by correspondence)

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2 thoughts on “Poverty and Broken Home but No Broken Spirit: Story of Slum Girl Seema

  1. So many challenges, yet in the end there is only gratitude, which is what I love about this piece. In adversity is born future success. And gratitude opens so many doors and plays such an important part in forgetting our past traumas and overcoming depression. Kudos to bringing out Seema’s story so thoughtfully.

  2. Dreams are the foundation stones of a great career, they keep us going. The heart wrenching story of this young girl will surely inspire generations to come. Thankyou so much for bringing out this amazing story, eagerly waiting for more!

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