Mrs. Annu Chouraria, right, President of Indian Ladies Association Abu Dhabi and Mrs. Rakshiya Yadav, General Secretary Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News (story: Binsal)

Abu Dhabi: An Indian woman living in the capital for many years fell ill and diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. It was found that she had been ignoring symptoms of the disease for several years, being too busy with her family matters.

The leaders of a prominent Indian community organisation has found a few other similar cases as well with a common underlying reason, which has prompted them to take it up as a cause for action.

“There was one thing in common — their own health was not a priority for these women. That’s why they were ignoring the early symptoms,” Annu Chouraria, the newly elected honorary president of the Indian Ladies Association (ILA), told Gulf News in an interview.

“They don’t fall sick one fine morning. For them, their topmost priority is health and welfare of their husbands and children,” she said.

When their husbands or children have such symptoms, these women take the initiative to get proper medical treatment until they get perfectly well, but they ignore their own problems for the sake of the family, said Chouraria, a corporate auditor living in the capital for nine years.

“They often forget the fact that unless the women do not take care of their own health, they cannot take care of their family properly. They should treat their health as a top priority,” she said.

Rakshita Yadav, the newly elected honorary general secretary of the ILA, said the association’s upcoming activities would focus on women’s health issues.

The ILA would organise awareness activities in coordination with hospitals and educational institutions, said Yadav, an HR professional living in the capital for 10 years.

Chouraria said hospitals in the capital offer free consultations and medical tests to members of community organisations such as the ILA while organising awareness activities, but many women do not utilise them. “We would like to change that attitude. We have to tell them you are the one holding the generations together. You have the responsibility to this society as well,” she said.

The association is planning sports activities for women and more colourful cultural programmes that will unleash their hidden talents.

Established in 1976, the ILA has around 300 members and most of them are married working women. The new leaders said expanding the membership base is also their top priority. “We would like to take our 42-year legacy to more women in the capital,” they said.

The ILA’s e-magazine titled ‘Jyoti’ offers a platform for women and their children to publish their creative ideas.

During the Year of Zayed, humanitarian activities, especially for women workers, will also be taken up to live up to the values of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, they said. “We will highlight Shaikh Zayed’s legendary ideas and initiatives for women’s empowerment also,” Chouraria said.

The ILA is one of the five Indian community organisations in the capital, which are registered with the Ministry of Community Development. The other four organisations are the Indian Social and Cultural Centre (ISC), Indian Islamic Centre (IIC), Kerala Social Centre (KSC) and Abu Dhabi Malayalee Samajam.

The ILA annual membership costs Dh250. Contact ILA office: 02-6330182, email: ila762010@gmail.com