Overcoming Voilence: Sarika's Story, a Barli Graduate
"I will ensure that no one dies because of lack of knowledge or proper care."
Sarika lives in Rajpur Village. “There was no freedom to anything,” she says. “My father drank and there was a lot of violence against my mother and all of us. I was impressed with the changes I saw in a friend who’d attended Barli, so I left home and went to Barli without telling anyone. One of our classes was called, ‘Learning to Develop Myself and My Community.’ It talked about the qualities of a good human being, especially truthfulness. This was an eye-opener for me and I decided to tell the staff that I had not informed my parents where I was. They immediately wrote a letter to my parents who rushed to the Institute to take me back home. But they were so impressed by the atmosphere of the Institute that they let me stay".
"After I returned home, my parents married me off. My husband’s family beat me and asked me repeatedly to get money from my parents. But my parents were poor and couldn’t meet such demands. When I got pregnant, I got no support from my husband’s family such as proper food and healthcare. I had no choice but to return to my parents’ home to have my child. There’s a social stigma against women staying at their parents’ homes after they have had a child, and there was pressure to return to my husband or remarry. I didn’t want to return to the violence and if I remarried, I’d have to give up my child. Parting from my son was inconceivable and I realized to keep him, I had to start my life all over again".
“I decided to teach others what I’d learned at Barli. My goal was ‘service to my people’ and I pursued it with heart and soul. Eventually, this attitude drew support from my family. And I was appointed as a volunteer health worker to educate women in villages where there are no medical facilities about healthcare and safe motherhood. I’ve received two awards for my work".
"I owe my success to Barli. There I learned that giving a helping hand can be very satisfying and that a small step can save lives. I became more aware about my rights and duties. I will ensure that no one dies because of lack of knowledge or proper care. More importantly, I will make the women of my community more self-reliant and independent. Only when they have faith in themselves can they keep others from exploiting them".