Our prints are named in honor of the women you support through your purchases and donations. While their identities are protected, the stories reflect the women we support to escape the sex trade or prevent them from entering it.
Anju is the provider for her family, both financially and in caring for her two young children, a son and a daughter. If you ask her about her husband she’ll tell you that the hardships began early in her marriage. She’ll tell you that her husband is an alcoholic and he physically abuses her, especially in the evenings after he’s had too much to drink. She’ll tell you that most of the time he refused to give her money and she lived in fear.
About a year ago, she asked friends and neighbors whether they knew of anyone who was hiring. After a few weeks of not finding a job, a friend told her about one of the Sudara partner sewing centers and the tailoring classes offered there. She joined right away. She told us that she became interested in sewing and tailoring as a child, but her family could not afford for her to take classes. After several months of classes, she started to sew dresses and blouses for friends. And, soon after, she accepted a full-time job offer with the sewing center and began to sew PUNJAMMIES™.
Anju tells us that although her husband is still struggling with an alcohol addiction and refuses to work, she no longer fears for her future. She tells us that she experiences peace and joy when she comes to work. And, she gets excited when she talks about being able to provide for her children, their education and their future, too.
Bhara’s mother was sold into the sex trade as a young girl. Her family lived in poverty and there were not many options for work in her village. When a man came to her village and promised a good job for Bhara’s mother, she was sold into a brothel in Mumbai. It was in this same brothel that she eventually gave birth to and began to raise Bhara.
After many years in the brothel, Bhara and her mother returned to her home village in search of her father and a safe place to live. She learned that her father had died the previous year of a heart attack and the rest of her family had left in search of work.
Without a place to live or family to help her, Bhara’s mother felt that she had no other choice but to enter the sex trade again under a pimp. The money she received in her village was far less than she received in Mumbai and under pressure from the pimp to bring in more money, she tried repeatedly to force Bhara into the sex trade too.
Bhara ran away from home one evening while her mother was at work. She found safety at a community center in a nearby village and with the help of a local NGO, was brought to the Sudara skills-training centers where she is still enrolled. Bhara expects to graduate next year and has plans of becoming a teacher.
Most of the women in Kala’s family are sex workers. She tried to hide this fact when she was at school. She didn’t want the other students to make fun of her and she wanted to do something else when she graduated. As the oldest daughter, however, everyone assumed that she would one day enter the sex trade to help take care of her younger siblings.
That day came after Kala completed the 10th grade. Her mother’s illness was getting progressively worse until she became bedridden and could no longer work. Her family, in need of income, forced her into the sex trade.
Several months later, a few representatives from a Sudara partner center were in Kala’s village talking about the skills training programs and raising awareness about traffickers. Kala heard their message and asked for help. She saw this opportunity as her only way out.
Kala is now living in safe housing through a Sudara partner center and receiving tutoring in computer skills and spoken English. She was recently accepted into college and will begin those studies next year.
Leela lost her father at a very young age. Her mother chose to take on a job as a day laborer after his death, but the income was not enough and she turned towards the sex trade in order to provide for her family. Leela doesn’t remember much about her childhood, but she can still hear the derogatory comments her mother’s customers made towards her and her siblings. She remembers the many times they would abuse her. And, she remembers that her mother was too afraid to speak up, afraid of angering the customer if she told them to stop… and so this abuse continued for several years.
Leela’s mother became ill a few years ago and she was not able to bring in as much income as before. She began to encourage Leela to accept her customers’ advances and offers. Leela feared that she would soon be forced into the sex trade and she would endure the same suffering she saw in her mother.
Leela ran away from home one night with the help of a local NGO; they brought her to a Sudara partner center in search of safe housing and skills-training. She has started to make many friends at the centers and she told us she is excited about her graduation later this year.
When Mya was young, her mother left to find employment in Mumbai without telling her family. Her mother stayed in Mumbai and was trapped in the sex trade for four years. Mya’s father, an alcoholic, raised her in her mother’s absence but refused to send her to school to get an education and ultimately started to abuse her. Feeling unsafe, Mya eventually left her home and moved in with her grandmother. She felt more secure after moving away from her father’s house, but always worried about her education and future.
Her aunt brought Mya to one of our partner centers after learning about the job skills training program through an awareness campaign in their neighborhood. Mya is currently in a computer skills training program, her long-term goals include being a teacher and working with underserved orphans.
Prema lost both of her parents to AIDS when she was very young. She and her sister had to take care of themselves. When Prema’s sister got married, she had to move into her home to help take care of her niece and nephews. However, her brother in-law was not happy with her presence and this led to heated arguments between him and her sister. Realizing she was the cause of conflict, Prema decided to leave the house at the age of 18. She met a stranger, who offered her a job in Mumbai. She trusted him and left the next day on a train. He took her to a home and introduced her to a lady and said he would come back and take her to another place but soon she came to know that she had been sold for 10,000 rupees, which is 145 US dollars.
Prema had to satisfy 10 to 12 customers a day. She cried because nothing had prepared her for the horrors that she was going through. After a few months she was able to escape with the help of a person who brought her from Mumbai to Hyderabad. In an awareness campaign conducted by the John Foundation, Prema came to know of their restoration home and skills training program. She was able to join a computer class and an English class.
Today, she still struggles with fear, especially at the thought of marriage and not being accepted by her husband. With the encouragement & support she is receiving in the form of counselling and acceptance, she hopes to get over her fears and live her life to the fullest. Now, she makes it a goal of her life to encourage girls who are considering going back into the sex trade not to do it, because she firmly believes that living with less is better than living with no dignity at all.
Varasi’s parents died when she was very young. Her aunt and uncle had promised to take care of her but ended up selling her to a brothel. Varasi was desperate to get out of this situation and felt trapped for years.
She was able to escape and was brought to a restoration home run by one of our partners. Through the 11 month program in the home, women and girls like Varasi receive medical care, mental health care and counseling, education, and love from an organization that works to build them up and give them hope for the future. While living in the home, Varasi received counseling and care while she completed basic and advanced computer skills training courses.
Immediately after her graduation, Varasi was offered a position as a data entry operator. Because of her training, Varasi is able to support herself and is proud of her job. She believes that, because of her training and support, her life has been transformed and she can now hold her head up with confidence.
Ayanna comes from a very poor family. Her husband works as an autorickshaw driver and was not bringing in enough money to make ends meet. As a family, they were finding it very hard to sustain their expenses and send their children to school with just one income. Ayanna wanted to help her family but felt trapped because she was not educated and had no employable skills to market. Seeing her struggle, Ayanna’s friends helped her enroll in a beautician course at one of our partner centers. With the help of a micro-loan and her husband’s support she was able to set up a very small beautician shop in her house and soon she started having customers. Today, she is not only able to help support her family financially, she is able to feel confident and strong.
Ela’s mother made a living as a commercial sex worker and frequently moved from one place to another. Eventually, both of Ela’s parents died from complications due to HIV/AIDS. After her mother’s death, the pimps who controlled her mother came after Ela to work for them as well. Through a trafficking awareness campaign led by our partner centers, Ela found out about their employable job skills training programs.
Ela enrolled and completed her Computer and Spoken English courses. She is now employed as an office executive. She says before joining our partner centers she struggled with low self-esteem and felt totally alone in the world, without love or acceptance in her life. She also felt unable to achieve anything of importance. After going through the skills training program, she gained confidence and the knowledge that she was capable of meeting her goals. She says, “I am what I am today because of the love and encouragement that I received at the center.”