Yesterday I received some great news about one of the girls in our jewelry program that highlighted how successful our program is and how the sky is the limit for how successful it can be.
Aloka Mitra, Founder and Chairperson of Womens Interlink Foundation (WIF), sat me down to discuss the situation of Priyanka, one of our jewelry girls. Priyanka has been under the care of WIF for many, many years because her mother, a brothel worker, didn't want her to be anywhere near the red light district or the work she did. She felt that WIF could provide her with a better education and better access to quality healthcare. Most importantly it provided Priyanka the opportunity to break the vicious cycle of children of brothel workers growing up to be brothel workers themselves, a situation that was highly likely for Priyanka had she of stayed with her Mom in the red light district.
Priyanka was one of our original girls from the start of the program and to be honest, she didn't show much promise or interest for quite some time. There was even a point where we thought we would lose her to a hospitality training program Aloka had enrolled her in to give her more options for income. Thankfully after trying the training for several weeks, Priyanka realized she loved working at the jewelry center and decided to stick with it but with more focus and commitment then she had in the past.
Almost immediately you could see the improvement. She showed up on time and got right to work. She stopped complaining about things she couldn't control and instead focused on improving the things she could control. Priyanka began designing pieces of jewelry that we liked and chose to sell PLUS her ability to make good quality jewelry increased significantly and she has now become one of our strongest jewelers.
Her mother is no longer a brothel worker due to her age. She has also suffered from various health issues, most of which are associated with her previous job. She has a hard time getting around and was feeling trapped in the red light district that she was no longer a part of but still had to live in. Things have been tough.
A few weeks ago Priyanka went to visit her mother and realized that something had to be done. She loved her mother too much to see her in such bad shape and she remembered the sacrifice her mother made by giving her over to the care of WIF. She had to help and she made a bold decision to do just that.
Last week, Aloka agreed to Priyankas request to move out of the WIF shelter home and into a new place with her mother! Now that Priyanka has been earning (and saving) for the past year and a half in the jewelry program, she has enough money to move into a small apartment with her Mom, far away from the brothels. And with her earning more and more each month in the jewelry program, she is able to take care of herself and her Mom!! Priyanka is ecstatic that she is able to do this and she is very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the jewelry team, which is what made this possible.
This is a HUGE victory for all of us at Made By Survivors / Womens Interlink Foundation and for all of you that help support the program. A young woman feels empowered enough (and has the resources to back it up) to move out of the comfort zone of her shelter home family and into a new place to help take care of her ailing mother. And she did this, not because she found a guy and got married to him (the usual way most girls get out on their "own") but because she learned a skill and used it to build a better life for herself and her family!
This is exactly why we do this!
Congrats Priyanka! =)