"With World Vision’s intervention I can say for sure, the future of my children will be secure," says Nilam, with two of her daughters. Photo by Annila Harris, World Vision
I used to go to school. My father sent us to private school. He never discriminated between boys and girls in the house because he is an educated man. My stepmother had a conservative and traditional way of thinking. She used to always tell me ‘what would girls do by getting educated?’ She was not educated herself and did not realise the importance of studying.
Studies are very important because your mind becomes wise. No one can fool you. No one can take advantage of your vulnerable situation. When we have wisdom then we can counter ignorance.
My in-laws came to my mother saying that we will treat your daughter right and take good care of her. Never once did my mother ask me what I wanted. Without my father’s knowledge she got me married. I was only 15.
I was still at my mother’s house after marriage and mother promised not to send me away before 18. But she pulled me out from school in Grade 9 because my husband didn’t want me to study. He used to say ‘What’s the point of educating her. I am not educated, so why should she be?’
It started with my earrings. He wanted them, no questions asked. He said by selling it he would get money to buy things for his house. But in reality it was for buying alcohol. When my mother stopped me from giving it to him, he dragged me out of my home and took me to his place.
I picked up whatever work I could find. Labour work at construction sites fetched me little money. I had to manage the household with that money. He didn’t let me use the money, I earned. When I got back from work he asked me for money to appease his thirst for alcohol. If I didn’t give it or used it to get food for the children, I was beaten.
I could not provide nutritious food for my children. Even when I enrolled my children in school, he went and fought with the teachers and pulled them out of school.
One day, after an argument over money, my husband assaulted me and I was sent to hospital. When I was still critical in the hospital, he used to come for money. With the excuse that money was needed to feed the children. But he spent it all on alcohol. My children were hungry and neighbours fed them leftovers. Ignoring all the pain, I went back home to him. In my heart I thought he would change. I did everything at home, everything. That time I was not empowered and accepted my fate the way others dictated. But when his action put my children’s future at risk, I decided to leave.
That time was the toughest for me. I had lost my job. I started falling sick often and my daughter started falling sick. Life became hard. I had lost my dignity and no one respected me in the community. But things changed when my path crossed ways with World Vision. World Vision gave me a means to survive.
World Vision assists the underprivileged. They empower women and girls. For people like me, they provide means of employment when it is hard to find a sustainable source of income. They focus on children’s education. Like, in the school my children go to, they have provided desks and benches. Children no longer sit on the floor and learn. Whatever they do, be it big or small, they do it with passion.
“We suggested a solution for generating income, under our program, the youth resource livelihood academy. Women and older girls were enrolled for a six-month tailoring course or beautician’s course. Without any investment, for the course enrolment from the participants side, they get jobs according to the skills acquired,” says Bin Chako, a program manager of World Vision India.
I had never gotten my eyebrow done. Never had I stepped into a parlour, in fact never seen one. How was I to learn all this? I doubted myself. Then my teacher encouraged me saying that no one learns the skill from their mother’s stomach, they acquire it. If you learn you will understand.
“I am proud that my mother is a beautician. I love my mother because she can face any challenge and problem. My mom is not afraid of anything. She has always taken care of us despite her condition,” says Kajal, Nilam’s 12-year-old daughter.
Now I walk with respect and my head held high. I am known as the beautician. My dignity and respect in society has been restored through this profession. Even my children have been blessed by World Vision. They are shown love. The children’s minds are refreshed by new thoughts and good teachings when they go for World Vision programs. The older children are members of the children’s club too.
With World Vision’s intervention I can say for sure, the future of my children will be secure.
World Vision partners with communities to build a better future for children and families. You can help by sponsoring a child today.