Vidya Sahadev More lives in Sarola village in the Osamanbad district of Marathwada region. Vidya’s story is one of bravery and determination. Vidya is one of the thousands of widows left behind by distressed farmers in Maharashtra's Marathwada and Vidarbha regions who were driven to suicide. Even in her trying times of adversity, she never stopped thinking about the well-being of her children, Ganesh and Vaishnavi.
Vidya was married to Sahadev at a very young age. Sahadev worked two jobs – as a farmer as well as a jeep driver. However he was unable to pick pace with two highly demanding jobs and fell prey to alcohol. He quit his job and was hardly earning much from farming. Due to the financial constraints, soon the family heaped up a huge loan and they were forced to borrow money to meet their basic necessities. Having lost all hope, Sahadev decided to end his life thinking that this would bring an end to all his problems. He set himself on fire and moved towards his family to grab them. Vidya, shocked and scared, ran out of the house with her children and escaped. Sahadev succumbed to the burns which left Vidya all alone to repay the loan as well as to look after her children.
At first she was distraught and did not know how she would be able to survive or pay back the loan. "He chose death. I didn't want my kids to be burned alive,” says Vidya.
She was determined to not let this incident affect her children’s future and learnt to farm the land which her husband had left behind after his death. She also took on tailoring jobs to support the family. By working overtime she was finally able to repay the entire loan.
After paying off the loans, Vidya worked hard to build a proper home for her children. Owing to poor financial conditions and losing her previous home to the disastrous fire, Vidya and her children shifted in a kachcha house made of tin sheets. When Habitat for Humanity India began its interventions for the construction of houses in Sarola village for farmer widows, Vidya was one of the future Habitat homeowner who received a house. “I have a sense of dignity and pride to own my house. I lived in a rented house for years and experienced the insecurity that came along with it. Today my children feel secure and so do I. They have their own space to study and do not struggle in terms of space anymore.” says a content Vidya.
Vidya is pleased with her life now. Her daughter Vaishnavi is studying in the 10th grade and is the brightest in her class. Ask her about Vidya and she replies "She is our mother, father and everything to us. I am going to study hard and become a police officer one day.” Her son Ganesh is studying in Latur in the 12th grade and wants to join the army, Vidya’s elder sister has taken the responsibility of his education. Vidya believes that her Habitat home will bring the family even more happiness in the future.