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Kochi woman finds strength in sewing machine to overcome tragedy, support family

Beena Johnson

“Fighting for Survival”: The three words from Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier” could easily relate to the life of this Kochi native woman, Beena Johnson. Yes, since the tragic death of her husband in 2014, 49-year-old Beena has been boldly fighting for survival, overcoming all the obstacles that life has been throwing at her. In fact, a small sewing machine tucked away in the corner of her home gave her the strength to navigate through the storm of grief and financial strain following the untimely death of her husband.

Though she had to work as a house maid to shoulder the burden of financial responsibilities that came crashing down upon her, her stitching skills proved to be a life-saver during the difficult times.

Life was well for Beena until 2014 when it took a drastic turn after her husband, Johnson, 46, suffered a stroke. His right side was partially paralyzed, requiring support from others to move around. The stroke not only affected him physically but also emotionally, which led to his death by suicide on April 6, 2014.

Soon, Beena found herself not only dealing with the devastating loss of her beloved husband but also in the middle of a battle she never expected: a legal fight with her husband’s family over the right to live life peacefully at her husband’s house with her two children.

“It all began after my husband fell ill. My children and I had to suffer a lot of trauma. Our house was frequently pelted with stones in the night, and we lived in utter fear. We were verbally abused and had to suffer a lot of insults. Even the electricity connection to the house was severed, and we lived without electricity for two-and-a-half years,” Beena told “Open Digest“.

“For the last ten years, we have been legally fighting to live on the 2.45 cents of land on which the house is situated,” she added.

Beena is proud that she had the courage to bravely put up a fight against the pressures and bring her children up. Armed with her trusty sewing machine, Beena now runs a small stitching center at her home, doing simple alterations and designs.

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