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Sewing a future

Nirmal Devi, a single mother of two children, is living in Kashmir in the far north of India. In most of India men are still the privileged class of society. A single women has to struggle hard to live an independent life. After Nirmal Devi lost her husband she felt desperate and helpless and did not know how to go on. Some years later she is a strong and confident woman living an independent life. Here’s her story:

I was married, at a tender age of 17 to Ramesh Lall of a village close to Akhnoor, in 1996. I was restricted to the house and was busy throughout the day with household chores. Within a year of my marriage I gave birth to a baby girl. My husband is working with a private firm and has passed high school.

Women's success story, India

My husband has 4 younger brothers and 2 sisters to provide for in addition to his parents, wife and daughter. My father-in-law was a small time farmer and had to depend largely on the rains for a good harvest. With a monthly salary of less than 100 dollars, my husband could barely make ends meet. He also had the responsibility of marrying off the two sisters and contributing to the family’s upkeep. In spite of difficulties, I saved time from housework and started to learn tailoring and sewing. I would carry my year-old daughter with me to the training centre.

This training benefited me greatly and I started to stitch clothes for not only my daughter but also for the women around and added to the family income. This training gave me the dignity of labour and I could reap the benefits of it within my lifetime.

Providing mothers with new skills, Pudukkupam, India

When my daughter was 4, I gave birth to a son and when my son was just over a year old, my husband did not come home one night. They told me that he died in an accident. It being night time the body could not be found nor the vehicle in which he was travelling. My world seemed to fall apart. Within no time I was left helpless and desperate, I had 2 kids to feed, educate and bring up in the absence of my husband. I did not expect any kind of support from my in-laws and I moved to my parents’ house with my two children.

Then I decided to study and become a beautician and opened a small beauty parlour, which also became my tailoring shop. I worked day and night to earn enough for the present and the future of my children. My parents and the SOS Children’s Village in Jammu have supported me in my dreams for myself and my children. My daughter always comes first in class and I will educate her and teach her to be independent and self reliant.
After spending a year in the Social Welfare Stitching and Tailoring Centre, I now have a diploma in the same. I want to pass the matriculation exam and want to be employed in a government tailoring centre. I am convinced that when an individual is helpless, God sends some help. In my case SOS came. I sincerely pray that SOS Children continues its support and encourages hundreds of women like me. I am now strong, independent and confident woman and I thank SOS for sharing my sorrows and reducing them.

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