Your gifts are empowering women and children that are at risk of entering the sex trade every day in amazing ways. One way is through a program that teaches women how to make jewelry so they have another way to make an income!
Having lost both her parents when she was very young, and living with her alcohol-dependent grandmother in the margins of Mumbai’s poorest, made Ribika part of a community that's very vulnerable to joining the sex trade.
She needed to work as domestic help in several houses to meet their basic food requirements and started to pitch in with her grandmother’s job of collecting garbage from residential societies and sweeping their compounds. Studying was no longer possible. While the homes she worked in offered to pay her to continue studying, they were unwilling to give her the time she needed to go to school or study.
Another woman who went through the jewelry program met Ribika and suggested she should consider joining. She was so grateful for the idea that she would be able to study and work at the same time - that we encouraged it and made provision for it!
She has been here a couple of months and we can see her determination and commitment to both the work and the pursuit of her education. Everyday she travels a fair distance to attend her classes, and then she takes over an hour-long train ride to the office where she works through the afternoon. She is extremely honest and if there is no class, she is in our office first thing in the morning. Her determination to complete her 10th and work towards the 12th grade while balancing the challenges of life at home is inspiring.
We have been nurturing this determination through our programme and have also helped her with a loan so she can focus on studying without the pressure of where the money for the fees will come. She is doing well in her jewellery making skills too and has moved from an apprentice to artisan trainee.
Not having to choose between her everyday necessities and her desire to learn and grow has helped build her confidence. From a girl who shied away from speaking to people, she is now confident about speaking in groups and sharing her thoughts and opinions. The holistic approach of our programme has, in her own words, given her the opportunity of freedom.
Because of you, entering the red-light district doesn't have to be an option for Ribika! There are many other women in similar situations to Ribika, and I hope you consider continuing to change lives.
Thank you again,
*Name and photo changed for safety