This story is set in a little village in India amidst beautiful mountains and completely surrounded by endless green fields. There are cows and sheep grazing, chickens running around, children playing improvised cricket matches, and woman chatting. This beauty and greenery is only contrasted by the hard life Laxmi Kota, 32, has had to face.
“I moved to Gudem Madhavaram at the age of 10 with my family. When I was in 4th grade, my mother met with an accident I had to quit studies and care for my mother,” Laxmi says. “I was then married at the age of 16, but sadly my husband died six years later when I was pregnant with our second child.”
Her children are 14 and 12 now and they study in the local government school. Her father supported them till he passed away seven years ago, and ever since, it has been up to her to provide for her family.
Adding salt to her already hurting wound was the diagnosis of her lung disease. Needless to say, this crippled her financially. But with some quick thinking and decision-making on her part, she enrolled in a tailoring course and developed her skills enough to be able to earn what she needed. Her illness prevented her from expanding her business, and sometimes she had to shut shop for several days when she felt sick.
When Asian Aid and Helping Hand Welfare Society (HHWS) launched the CFD program in Laxmi’s village, it seemed like we were handed a tailoring trainer on a silver platter. Laxmi was perfect for our women’s skill development program which began on the 14th of February this year.
“12 women regularly attend classes currently, and after they finish the course we will give each of them a tailoring machine,” Laxmi says excitedly. “The plan is to help form a co-operative society and acquire bulk orders from towns and cities nearby and slowly become economically independent.”
Meanwhile, Laxmi has been earning a respectable income which helps her take care of the cost of her treatment and at the same time provide for the basic needs of her family. It is heartening to see Laxmi extremely happy, training women and helping other families become financially stable.