We love sharing stories of the women who, as part of a skills-training program, sew together Punjammies®. The Sudara Stories series highlights a few of these strong, amazing women. Today, we are honored to introduce Mina.
Mina’s Story of Hope and Freedom
Mina spent most of her life in one of India’s many government hostels. Her father had contracted HIV and was too sick to take care of her. Her mother, a commercial sex worker, was always in search of work to take care of the family and often moved from one town to another. She told Mina she would be safer if she stayed at the hostel, that she would be back soon and to try and make friends with the other kids whose moms moved a lot too. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months.
Mina’s grandmother came to the hostel one day. She told Mina that her mother had died earlier that month from AIDS and they thought her father would die soon, too. Her grandmother didn’t have enough money to pay the required fees for the hostel and Mina would need to live with her instead.
Soon after Mina moved in with her grandmother, they heard that the traffickers who sold her mother into the sex trade were now looking for Mina. They wanted Mina to pay for the money her mother still owed them. Mina knew that she had to get away before they forced her into the sex trade too.
Through an awareness campaign in her village, Mina heard about options for safe housing and skills training for women who are escaping trafficking. She fled that evening to one of Sudara’s partner centers where she is currently enrolled in computer skills and spoken English training programs. She told us that she is excited to support herself after graduation.
Thank you for continuing to invest in and empower women like Mina to create a new life for herself. You can read more Sudara Stories here. And, find the Punjammies® we named in honor and celebration of Mina here.
*Photo and name have been changed for identity protection and personal safety