A Story of Persistence and Determination
Sandhya* name changed. Sandhya comes from a large broken family of three brothers and three sisters and at 21, she is now the sole breadwinner of her family. She works two jobs as household keeper and earns enough to send her brother to school and take care of her personal household and that of her family’s back in her hometown. But her life was never this smooth up until she approached HamriBahini.Net. Her early life was a series of failures and downfalls but her determination and persistence to work hard to make ends meet, got her through those hardships.
Her father had left for Kathmandu in search of job opportunities and had never returned to checkup on her and her family.Sandhya exclaimed that he wasn’t even present when her youngest brother was born. After the birth of her youngest brother, her mother’s health deteriorated and there was more pressure on her and her elder sister to take care of her family. Sandhya recalls how her elder sister had given her Rs. 160 to take care of the family a long time back and how much of a struggle it was to prioritize where the money would be used. She then decided to travel to Kathmandu in search of her dad whose presence could rescue the family from their misfortunes. It was as if bad news followed her like a shadow; she reached Kathmandu only to find out that her father had remarried. She lost hope that her father could ever support her family. Her mother was also diagnosed with TB and decided to stay back in Kathmandu for her treatment. Sandhya now had to bear the responsibility of taking care of her siblings and be the strong headed one in the family. She travelled back to her village and struggled to feed her sisters and brothers. She recollected eating chilies and water herself and feeding her siblings watery lentils made from a handful of grains. When festivities knocked at the door, she went to her maternal uncles who only cursed her for eyeing his food and his family’s prosperity. With no means of earning to survive at her village, she decided to go back to Kathmandu in search for jobs for the second time. Kathmandu could either be the city of dreams or the city of nightmares; although Sandhya tried to make it work for her and her family in Kathmandu, there were a lot of failed attempts. Soon after she got to Kathmandu Sandhya helped in harvesting chores in Bhaktapur where she got Rs.50 for a day’s worth of labor, Rs. 10 less than what was initially offered. She however was happy to earn as much as she could. She was happier that she could save half of her lunch given that day, for her brother. Sandhya also lost opportunities to learn sewing, embroidery and beautician trainings because her father thought there was no use in learning them. Because Sandhya never got the opportunity to go to school either, she resolved to work as a housemaid. Her experience as a housemaid was far from being an enriching one. There were days when she just got four hours of sleep; days when she was accused of stealing; days when she was accused of practicing witchcraft; days when doing her best wasn’t enough at all. During one of those job-hunting processes, one of her first cousin in Kathmandu promised to find a home for her. With tears streaming down her eyes, Sandhya exclaimed that she got to her brothers place not to be offered a job, but to be forced upon by him. It was as if the universe needed more reasons to test her. But a brave teenager as she was, Sandhya didn’t let that incident pull her morals down. She held her guard up, fought back and escaped. Sandhya revealed that it was the first time she had ever shared this story with anyone. She fears no one any longer and believes that more ears need to reach such stories of hardships. Rather than being supportive, her family just added to her plight as she braced herself to land a secure job. Her father had left his second wife and had been living together with her mother who was getting better with treatment. But her father had not changed. An alcoholic, who still beat her mother every night and to avoid alarming the neighbors, Sandhya exclaimed that he used to turn up the stereo volume. Even both sisters had eloped and were living in broken marriages. This only increased the distance among her family members and put more responsibility on her shoulder to take care of her family. Sandhya was more determined than ever to bear the responsibility of her shattered family. It was then that Sandhya decided to approach HamriBahini.Net. Sandhya had found out about HamriBahini.Net through a volunteer, who was recruiting didi’s in her community for the program. Although Sandhya was reluctant to apply and submit her forms, she later changed her mind. She failed to receive a call from HamriBahini.Net staff therefore took it upon herself to find out why no one approached her for a job possibility. Her determination paid off. After further inquiry, the staffs at HarmiBahini.Net successfully setup an interview between her and the employer. This marked the end of most of her miseries and the beginning of a new life. Sandhya is now working two jobs. She exclaims with joy how her employer gave her a bonus of Rs. 1000 just to spend it on herself but instead of indulging, she saved it to later buy household supplies. Sandhya is also looking for another job via HamriBahini.Net. She explains that HamriBahini.Net has given her that security that none of her previous jobs promised. She wants HamriBahini.Net to open branch offices in more places and advertise more so that it can reach every struggling ear to offer assistance. She even added that didi’s and bahini’s working in Harmi Bahini can contribute in any possible way for this to happen. Sandhya exclaims that offices like these help hamri bahini’s, our sisters, from migrating to foreign lands in search for jobs. Sandhya continues that had her sister known about HamriBahini.Net earlier, she could have been stopped from migrating to Oman in search of job opportunities. Sandhya dreams of being a teacher, and teaching women who could benefit from sewing and household trainings and hopes HamriBahini.Net continues to shine light in more hamri bahini’s lives.