#AidToMaid: Sheenu Jhawar empowers her maids Beena & Shakuntala
- IWB Post
- March 7, 2015
Our campaign with Jewelry Designer Sonal Sawansukha called ‘Aid to Maid’ implies to empower house-maids in some way. Sonal’s brand Jewel Saga is determined to beautify not only women’s jewelry closets, but also the lives of women from the underprivileged section – maids – who are generally overlooked by us.
Towards this mission, we met 5 successful women of Jaipur to see how they have been empowering the lives of their maids in order to catch some inspiration. The first to meet was Mrs. Sheenu Jhawar, Director Apex Hospital.
Sheenu’s 2 maids – Beena (53) and Shakuntala (32) – were also invited to be a part of this chat session.
JWB – Let us begin with knowing about these two pretty women.
Sheenu Jhawar – Beena has been working for me for 7 yrs now, while Shakuntala joined 2 yrs back. I know every tit-bit of their lives because they keep coming to me for suggestions.
Beena is a single parent of 3 kids. We recently got her son married in November last year. Shakuntala lives with her husband and 2 school-going sons.
JWB – Shakuntala looks shy.
Sheenu Jhawar – Oh, this is because of the camera I guess. Otherwise, she is a chatter-box and is my fashion-critic. She tells me which jewellery or footwear goes well with my looks of the day.
(We hope Shakuntala will appreciate spring-lit jewellery pieces from Sonal Sawansukha’s spring/summer collection!)
JWB – How financially independent your maids are?
Sheenu Jhawar – Very much. Beena, since she is single, takes care of her savings and other financial management on her own. The big chunk of her earnings goes to her savings account.
Beena – These days, I have been paying off the loans I took for my son’s marriage.
Sheenu Jhawar – I like one thing about Beena, she is a woman of substance. She has been handling her home, finances, along with my home brilliantly. Even her grown up son looks up to her.
JWB – That’s wonderful. What about Shakuntala?
Shakuntala – My husband takes care of the monetary issues at home.
Sheenu Jhawar – She is not educated and so, her husband is the one who manages even what she earns. I have tried shifting her interest towards books but in vain.
JWB – Why don’t you tell her the importance of the financial independence in a woman’s life?
Sheenu Jhawar – I have tried that so many times but you cannot force anyone. On the other hand, her husband might think I am brain-washing her and might stop sending her to work. It is an issue with this working-class.
Shakuntala – I don’t want to study. I get bored with books.
JWB – Bored?
Shakuntala – I like pictures. When Beena didi reads newspaper, I look at the pictures and grab what the news is about.
JWB – Well, that’s smart. And Beena, do you read a newspaper every day?
Beena – Without fail. I have kept an hour for my leisure time. I read the newspaper during this slot.
JWB – That is wonderful, Sheenu! And we can see the inspiration behind her habit.
Sheenu Jhawar (laughs) – We promote reading at our home. We don’t have TV but library in each room. My family reads all kinds of books, and this habit has been transferred to my son and even the house-help.
JWB – Commendable. This is definitely polishing their skills.
Sheenu Jhawar – It feels good to see Beena becoming so strong. She had gone through a lot.
(We noticed tears in Beena’s eyes)
JWB – Beena, would you like to talk about your husband?
Beena – He was an alcoholic and used to beat me a lot. One day I just moved out of the house with my 3 kids. I decided to change my destiny. I started working in many houses to earn well and send my 3 kids to school, this includes 2 daughters.
JWB – Your story is very inspirational. Your son has lived with women all his life – you and your 2 daughters. What values has he developed in his character?
Beena – All of us work equally at home, he understands the role of a man in the house-hold work.
JWB – Now you can relax in life since the 3 kids are well-settled now.
Beena – I have few health issues. Biggest of them is my unbearable knee pain. I don’t know till when I will be able to work.
JWB – But you have Sheenu who, we’re sure, guides you with medical help.
Sheenu Jhawar – In the past Shakuntala lost one of her cousins who suffered a snake bite. They took the patient to some ‘peer baba’- and he died.
JWB – Oh god, we’re sure working in Sheenu’s house is enlightening for both of you.
Shakuntala – Because of Sheenu didi, we have got rid of superstitions. Earlier ‘peer baba’ and black magic were our solutions to any disease. But she has made us realize the importance of a medical help and a doctor. Now we go to doctor and take medicines that are prescribed to us.
Managing a renowned hospital, Sheenu surely helps her house maids realize the importance of health check-ups. Apart from this, Sheenu told them about the importance of insurance since both the maids don’t have any insurance policy done for the self and their house-assets. During the chat session, Sheenu elaborately described them what a ‘jeevan-beema’ (life insurance) is all about.
Later Sheenu pledged to further empower her two maids. Sheenu wore the cleaning gloves and held scrub to signify her commitment towards polishing her maids’ lives.
We then made her don the Jewel Saga ‘Love-bird Gold Bangle’ to denote master’s prosperity while holding to the cleaning accessories. Read her wise pledge:
‘To empower a woman is to empower her sense of the self-reliance and find within herself reasons to be happy. I pledge to increase their emotional quotient and power of personal decision making.’
Photographer: Vinod Singh Gusain