Stories of Freedom

Sudara Stories: Dhana

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 Dhana.

{image via ©Paula Watts Photography}

Dhana’s Story of Freedom and Hope

Dhana dropped out of school in the 8th grade because of issues at home.  Her mother, a sex-worker for 15 years, had become ill. And, Dhana’s step-father recently walked out on their family. She thought she would be able to continue her studies when her mother remarried, but her new step-father was abusive and he refused to pay the fees for her school. Instead, Dhana spent her days hiding in another room while her mother worked. Even though the customers would show-up drunk and sometimes, if they saw Dhana, become violent towards her, she felt safer at work with her mother than she did at home.

Over the next several years, her mother’s health began deteriorating, and the abuse from both her step-father and her mother’s customers was increasing.  She told us that she reached a breaking point, but didn’t know what else to do except join the sex-trade like her mother.  Dhana’s mother did not want her to join the sex trade, though. She had endured years of suffering and wanted a different life for her daughter.

Over the next several weeks, Dhana’s mother asked neighbors and community workers about help for her daughter. That’s when she heard about the Sudara centers and the skills-training and safe housing we provide.  After Dhana’s mother brought her to the centers, she enrolled in courses in sewing and cosmetology. She is thriving in the community here and expects to graduate late next year.

Thank you for continuing to invest in and empower women like Dhana to create a new life for herself — a life that is free from sex-slavery and full of hope.

Read more Sudara Stories here. And, find the PUNJAMMIES® we named in honor and celebration of Dhana here.

*Photo and name have been changed for identity protection and personal safety

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