Single parent deceased, the teenagers of Mansa live in a ruined hut | Amritsar News


BATHINDA: Two teenage siblings, Karanbir and Pooja, are struggling after losing their father, their single parent, during the pandemic eight months ago. They had lost their mother to cancer almost two years ago.
The boy, 14, and his sister (13) live alone in a dilapidated one-room hut even as his roof collapses and leaks during the rains. They tried to hold the roof in place by placing a wooden log in the middle of the room, but that too is fragile. Their father Kulwinder Singh, a worker, died of hepatitis C but they have no idea how he got infected. They remember that he spent all his savings to save their mother Soma Bai, but succumbed to cancer. Younger siblings can’t even remember the exact details of her cancer.
Living in the town of Sardulgarh in the Mansa district of Punjab, the siblings relied on charity from neighbors and Karanbir started making some money helping a nearby barber after the Covid-19 restrictions were lifted .
Siblings have not been able to attend online classes since schools were closed due to the pandemic last year. They have both been promoted to the next class but have not yet attended classes physically. Karanbir is a Class VIII student and Pooja is a Class VII student, but both focused on survival to worry about studies.
Pooja takes care of the household chores – cooking food in the open with bits of dry cow dung and junk that she collects around the settlement on the outskirts of Sardulgarh. She cleans the place, washes clothes and dishes at a nearby municipal tap, and tries to make sure the two have a meal in at least a day.
With no one to rely on, as their loved ones left them to survive on their own, the siblings struggled to somehow survive despite absolute poverty.
Karanbir and Pooja both seem depressed and don’t want to talk with strangers. After persuading him, Karanbir reluctantly revealed that they weren’t worried until their father got infected with hepatitis C after almost 14 months after their mother died and became very weak. He stopped working and stayed at home for almost 15 days when he was moved to his cousin’s house in the village of Burj near Ludhiana. The cousin had their father admitted to a hospital in Ludhiana where he died. However, after the death of their father, the cousin left them in Sardulgarh and did not return.
Their maternal uncle lives in Sardulgarh but is not in contact with them.
“We manage to make ends meet with a meager amount of money I get from the barber. Sometimes we get help from the neighbors. Some traders would give us flour or sometimes ingredients like sugar, tea or even milk and ask us to pay what we could. But not all the time, ”the teen mumbled.
Even though the hut is theirs, the siblings were afraid during the rains that the roof would collapse and crush them while they sleep, Karanbir said. “We are also afraid of how are we going to live like this,” he admitted.
However, her sister Pooja seems to have lost her childhood and is reluctant to talk to strangers. “We somehow live without parents,” she mumbled before saying nothing more.
Having learned of their struggle, an NGO based in Sardulgarh now came to their aid and promised to provide for their basic needs and assured the brothers and sisters that they would rebuild their dilapidated barracks.
“This is the most miserable story. We are amazed at how much the two were left alone and no one was able to find out. We live in the same small town but had no idea about their struggle. We have decided to support them and we believe that others will come to help us. We decided to rebuild their house by demolishing the old dilapidated structure, ”Aradas Charitable President Gurlal Singh and Vice President Gurpreet Singh told TOI.


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