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 Nava.
Nava’s Story of Hope and Freedom
Nava and her mother moved from Mumbai to Kolkata when Nava was in the seventh grade. Her mother’s second marriage had recently ended and Nava was forced to drop out of school. Her mother told her that this would be the last time they moved, that they were going to start over and that everything was going to be OK.
Soon after they arrived in Kolkata, Nava’s mother entered the commercial sex trade. There were little to no options available to a woman without a skilled trade or an education, but she needed money in order to feed herself and her family. Nava noticed the ways that her mother’s customers abused her and spoke to her, though; sometimes they would threaten Nava or physically abuse her too.
After almost a year in Kolkata and the commercial sex trade, her mother became ill and was no longer able to bring in the level of income they needed to survive. They moved yet again. This time her mother planned to take up temple prostitution. She would make just enough to feed the family and send Nava back to school.
Nava, however, didn’t feel safe in their new home. Her mother’s customers were continuing to abuse Nava. She often felt hopeless as well as scared about her own future if she continued living at home.
After several weeks of enduring abuse, Nava approached a community-based organization for help. And with the consent of her mother, a community worker helped her find one of Sudara’s partner sewing centers. Nava is currently living in safe housing and enrolled in both sewing and cosmetology courses. She wants to use the skills she is learning to become a beautician in a nearby city.
Thank you for continuing to invest in and empower women like Nava 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 Nava here.
*Photo and name have been changed for identity protection and personal safety