Absana is 40 years old and has been a widow for 14 years. Her children are 14, 17 and 21 years old. She lives with her in-laws family and there is no family income. Her husband committed suicide by taking poison. They had family problems due to lack of money and she too took poison, but survived. She has a son who is a painter and decorator, but he doesn’t give any money to her, but spends it on herself. She used to do a quilting filling job in the area and was paid 30 rupees for 2-3 hours work. She has a 17 year old daughter who is illiterate and is living with her uncle and aunty, but won’t come to the empowerment centre because of the family rift with her mother. Her 14 year old son goes to government school. She needs to earn a living to buy basic essentials like food and clothes for her younger son.
“My name is Sonu Khan, I am 24 years old and have been coming to Sambhali since March 2013. I was married when I was 14 and moved to Janta colony. I now have a 9 year old son and live with my husband and his family. I used to tie-dye dupattas at home to sell, but this didn’t earn any money. My family doesn’t allow me out of the house on my own; I can’t socialise or go shopping or work. My sister started coming to Sambhali and told me about it. I wanted to learn new skills and to be able to support myself. Now I can save money and give some to my child who is at school. My teacher, Kavita and the other women are my new family and support network. I didn’t have this before I came here; I had no-one to talk to and no freedom. I hope to always stay with Sambhali; it’s perfect!”
“My name is Anjum Ansari; I am 39 years old and I’ve been coming to Sambhali since July 2013. I am married and have 3 children, 12, 19 and 21 years old. Before coming to Sambhali I was only allowed to work at home, and it was a struggle to support my children. I heard about Sambhali from the teachers who work here and wanted to come so that I could learn new skills and earn some money. I have learnt so much since coming here; I can make different things and can keep some money for myself. The best thing are the women I work with – they are like my sisters and I have not had this kind of support before. Even if nothing can be done, they help me by understanding that we all have the same problems. Sambhali is good because it has given me independence and all women should have this.”