Srinagar, Dec 22: Khalida (name changed), a widow from south Kashmir, struggles to find matches for her three daughters, for they are orphans who cannot afford dowry.
Her husband was killed by the army in ‘90s, leaving her to struggle for her family’s survival.
Shafiya and Raziya, her two daughters, had to leave their studies as their mother could not afford to pay for their education.
“My two elder daughters crossed 30, and I am struggling to get them married,” Khalida said.
“Today, everyone is looking for financially-sound and working women. Unfortunately, orphans like my daughters don’t have those qualities. So, we are suffering,” she added.
Like Shafiya and Raziya, many orphan girls in the valley are waiting to get married.
Ghulam Mustafa, Administrator at Jammu and Kashmir Yateem Trust, said they provide wedding assistance to 400 orphans girls, paying Rs 12,000 to each.
“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 his organisation received more than 400 applications from orphan girls, widows, and destitute.
He said that the orphan girls can’t offer dowry and bear the huge wedding expenses.
“People are becoming more materialistic and do not think about those who are living in misery,” he said.
“People are creating customs and giving dowries to their daughters, creating troubles for others. If people will follow religious ways, no girl will suffer and find it difficult to find a match. 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 in a slumber. There are thousands of orphan girls still waiting to settle down 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 married,” said an official at the trust.
According to the orphanage officials, 90 per cent of the orphan girls have already crossed 30 years of age.
“Not only orphan girls, there are other poor families struggling to get their daughters married. Even some are suffering silently,” said Mustafa.
He said it was a responsibility of the society to help orphan and poor girls.
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 there was no accurate number of unmarried orphan girls.
“There are thousands of them registered with different orphanages. Also, there are girls who are still unmarried due to poverty,” he said. “Delay in marriages is a concern for all of us.”
Manzoor Ahmad (name changed), who is also helping the poor and orphan girls to get married, said there was a stigma attached in the society to marry orphans, as people have turned materialistic.
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 over age now.
Mustafa said they sometimes get offers from the people to marry orphan girls, but they don’t get them married without proper verification.
“We rejected the offers because we were worried for their safety.”
He said their organisation was also helping 5,000 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 needed on a daily basis,” he added.
Courtesy: Kashmir Monitor