This story serves as a reflection of how your continued support is radically changing lives and empowering real women thousands of miles away. We extend our sincerest gratitude towards your kindness over the past decade as we continue to witness the tremendously positive our Sister Aid program has had on hundreds of impoverished women and children. While this story occurred prior to the current COVID-19 epidemic, your dedication and compassion even today have rippling effects for the women we hope to encourage.

Three years ago, Dipali Mondal became a member of the Shakti Sanchar group under our Sister Aid program and began to receive training for weaving biodegradable hogla mats. However, before she entered the group, Dipali gave birth to a baby girl. Because her in-laws did not recognize a female child at all, this became a point of contention with her husband and as she was carrying her child, she had been tortured. Dipali was kicked in the abdomen during her advanced stage, beaten brutally, thrusted against cement walls, and dragged along corridors pulling her hair, all due to the sex of her child.

When the girl was born, she was denied proper nutrition, and not given adequate amounts of milk and food for development. As a result, her daughter Debarati grew weak, could not stand properly or face the ravages of weather change, and faced obstacles in cognition. She was also denied clothes or a proper education. Dipali’s husband and family abandoned her and her child, forcing her to work as a domestic helper in several households to make ends meet. There was not enough much to eat, less to wear and perhaps nowhere to take shelter. During this period, her mother gave birth to a baby boy and Dipali’s destiny took a little better shape.

Dipali soon found help from the Shakti Sanchar Group members as they visited her house, looked out for her needs, gave her mental support, and helped her to receive training in weaving biodegradable hogla mats. Now, Dipali earns nearly Rs 3000/- per month, looks after both of her children, sends them to school, gives them proper nutrition and also provides them the emotional support necessary in childhood. She leads a better life now. Her group is still trying to help increase her production for enhancing her income.

YGB is currently helping 10 women at the Sankti Sanchar group and met with them to discuss change towards empowerment and betterment, expansion of volume of business, and overcoming external hurdles or requisite help from stakeholders. Home visits also included assistance in continuing their income generating activities and education around topics such as leadership and female entrepreneurship.