Nagamma (60) lives in Bagalur with her husband Venkateshappa (65). Nagamma and her family have been struggling to make ends meet, earning a meagre and irregular income. Currently, Nagamma earns around INR 250 (approximately USD 3) per day by plucking flowers in a farm nearby. Sometimes, she works as a domestic help in houses. Venkateshappa is a farmer but is currently unemployed.
A mother to four, Nagamma and her family have lived in the same old dilapidated house for over 40 years. “The old house was not ideal as it lacked proper infrastructure. The house also didn’t have ventilation which made it difficult for us during the summer months,” recalls Nagamma. “We had to cook, live and sleep in the same space, which made things very difficult because there were no windows.”
During the monsoon, heavy wind and rain would cause the roof to collapse, flooding the house. All their belongings would get soaked and remain damp for weeks. This also led to the family falling sick very often. Their expenditure would increase since they had to buy medicines for the fever, cold and allergies that followed. Nagamma and her husband had to count on their relatives and relief shelters to take care of them and provide them with shelter during those trying times.
The house also did not have electricity and water connections. Several times a day, Nagamma and her husband had to walk to a distant public tap to collect water for drinking, cooking and bathing, carrying the pots filled with water over their head. On some days, due to the shortage of water, the family would find it hard to save water for baths.
Unable to purchase furniture like cupboards for their house, Nagamma and her husband would store their important belongings under heavy materials such as wooden planks or utensils, and rely only on the feeble lock on their front door for safety.
Nagamma has three daughters who are married and live far away. She is overcome with emotion while talking about her only son who she lost to an accident two years ago, while he was returning home from work. It was a devastating moment for the family to lose their only son, and the sole regular breadwinner.
After the accident, Nagamma and her husband had to work hard to earn their living. Their combined income from odd jobs was between INR 400 – 600 (USD 5-8) per day. This was barely enough to cover their bills and monthly expenses. Now with Venkateshappa unemployed, they struggle even more.
The pain of losing their son and living in an old house with a poor structure, made the family highly vulnerable.
Habitat for Humanity India stepped in to help relieve Nagamma and her family from this stress, and build decent shelter with them in Bagalur.
Nagamma is happy her new Habitat home now has both electricity and water connections. However, Nagamma is most grateful about the partitions and assigned areas in her house for living, cooking and sleeping, a luxury she did not have before!
She says with a full heart, “We could not be happier with our new Habitat home. We have all that we could ask for and more! It’s our own home where we are safe. It was something we thought was impossible!”