Stories of Freedom

Sudara Stories: Soyamma

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 Soyamma.

Soyamma Story of Hope and Freedom{image via ©Paula Watts Photography}

Soyamma came to the sewing centers for the first time exactly one year ago. She told us stories of her childhood — a cousin who sexually abused her, an alcoholic father, and a mother who left after years of physical abuse. She told us how she got involved in the sex trade — her father forced her; he wanted to spend the money on more alcohol. And, she told us about her breaking point and the day that she ran away from home — it was the day her father tried to sell her to a pimp.

Soyamma came to the sewing centers at the recommendation of a neighborhood friend. She remembers that she was scared that first day. She soon realized, though, that many of the women at the sewing centers had a childhood like hers. And, they chose to come to the sewing centers because they knew it was a safe place, a place where they could heal, and a place where they could create a better life for themselves and their children.

During Soyamma’s time at the sewing center she took classes to become a tailor as well as a beautician. She also learned to dance and loved teaching other women to dance too. When she graduated from her classes earlier this year, we watched as she danced happily with her friends, we rejoiced when she told us that she was offered a job, and we wiped away more than a few tears when she left the center to pursue her new life.

Soyamma came to the sewing centers for a second time last month. This time she told us stories of her new job, the friends she met and how happy she is there. And, then she handed us money. “This is 25% of my first paycheck,” she said. “Please take it. I want you to help other girls who grew up like me. I want them to find safety and happiness too.”

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

Read more Sudara Stories here.

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

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