An army wife is the binding force that holds together the soldiers and officers of the army as one big family. Army has always been about others – safeguarding, caring, nurturing and protecting the country and its citizens. Army wives are justifiably called the ‘silent ranks’ – their work behind the scenes isn’t visible to most people after all.
Not many many know that the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) helps improve the quality of life for soldiers and their families in many ways. AWWA has a wide array of services, institutions and facilities for the families of the soldiers and officers. Across every level, these women contribute to the execution and day to day running of the facilities.
Contrary to what many think, an army wife’s life is not all about entertaining and having a lot of staff to help! The army wife is a well-read, well-qualified woman who devotes her time to ensure the army’s welfare and social obligations are met.
It is a voluntary, unpaid job for the most part though there are a few paid appointments with corresponding duties. Many army wives choose to give up highly paid opportunities due to the frequent transfers that are part of army life – we continue to use our education and talents in many ways.
When her husband joins a position in any station, the wife too takes up various responsibilities. She gets involved in welfare activities for the army men and women and their families, contributing her time, knowledge, creativity and talent. She is both a participant and facilitator in these programs.
AWWA is the army’s way of ‘giving back’ to the organisation that looks after its own even after their death.
These are just some of the initiatives I know of:
FWC – Family Welfare Centres run courses with working opportunities for women. They also look after the Veer Naris – war widows, ensuring their welfare, education and jobs of their children.
ASHA Schools – schools for the differently abled.
APPS – Army Pre-primary Schools are run by the army but staffed with professionally qualified teachers and staff. It is the first school most army kids attend.
These establishments are run by the army, and officers with a unit are in charge of the day-to-day activities. The wives contribute by creating awareness among the families and giving them the required guidance. They also work as a support system for newly arrived families who may initially face some adjustment issues.
The army wife is not just a wife, she is a mother, a sister and a friend to her unit members, as the need arises.
Written by Inderpreet Kaul Uppal