When I was sixteen I was studying in school and living with my parents. That was the year that everything changed. I got married and went to live with my husband and my mother-in-law and father-in-law. My father-in-law was addicted to alcohol. My mother-in-law was a tailor by profession and used to stitch clothes for women. She knew to sew blouses and petticoats. My husband was a rickshaw driver. When I saw the poor financial situation of the family I started helping my mother-in-law in her work. After five years of marriage my children were ready to go to school. But because money was so scarce, my in-laws had to return to the village to live.
I started taking in embroidery work and earned Rs. 300 to 500 every month. A friend of mine, Madhu, took me to SHARE, and I joined Sahara as an embroidery artisan. That was the beginning of my career as a working woman. After becoming a permanent employee I started getting enough funds for my daughter’s education. But our financial situation was still difficult, which caused my husband to fall into a severe depression. Because of this he stopped working and our only source of income was my salary. It was a very stressful time, and I was very worried.
Thanks to a number of programs I have been fortunate enough to participate in I have changed my outlook on life. I know that life is full of difficulties, but I am determined not to let them become a burden. I decided to accept every challenge and learn to make my own luck. An organization called Sakhya taught us how to take care of teenagers. Training sessions at SHARE taught me more new skills. I participated in Social Action and Global Dialogue programs, which taught me a lot about myself and how to live a good life. I felt like a true leader after attending a training conducted by Vacha, an organization that collaborated with SHARE. I started to notice changes in my life, in my thoughts, and in my beliefs and attitudes. I realized the importance of my work, and I found peace and happiness.
And I was able to bring up my children well, establishing a good relationship with them and encouraging them to study and excel. My children attended the Armaan Club activities. My daughter has reached class XII now, a year farther than I was able to study, and my son is in class VII. My children have shared with me all that they learned at Armaan Club. They taught me how to use the computer as well as many other modern ways of doing things, and all our sharing has helped strengthen our bond as a family.
Blog written by: Rupaali and Celina, Students in Social Work from SNDT University, Mumbai.