Megala’s needs were many, and varied. She needed to feed her family. She needed to complete an education she was forced to leave due to poverty. She needed a job. She needed happiness in her home. She needed basic utilities in her community. She needed friends.
Megala, now 26, comes from a family of farmers, and lives in Bangalore, India. Her hand-to-mouth existence continued after marriage at 20 and two children. Her husband lost his job as a painter soon after, but Megala, determined and proactive, began looking for opportunities to create a good life for her family. After learning about Asian Aid’s tailoring program in her community, she enrolled immediately.
The free six-month program aims to empower vulnerable people in the community – and it did just that for Megala.
“As the course began, many things changed in my life. At the start, it was only about the skill to sew that allowed me to save a small amount of money. Attending sessions on health, interpersonal skills, English and women’s rights also opened my eyes to see various issues in a new light.”
Most important to her is the way she now deals with her children. Whereas before attending a parenting skills session she would often scold and even beat her children, Megala has now changed her disciplining methods. As a child, she had few opportunities to interact with others since her family was very reserved. Now her social circle has widened and she is better equipped to respond to day-to-day circumstances.
Through the life skills sessions, Megala and her new friends learnt many things, such as building good relationships in the workplace and taking more risks in starting new businesses.
“The various sessions on personality development have helped me become a stronger woman, and my husband is proud of me,” says Megala. “I will surely give better education opportunities to my children so that they can achieve their dreams.”
This is a significant step. Since there is widespread poverty in the community, many parents directly or indirectly encourage their children to help them in their small business enterprises in their relatives’ shops which are located within community – often leading to children dropping out of school early.
Megala is now working at an e-government service run for Bangalore residents. The job has boosted her confidence, helped her pay off her loans, and improved her family’s wellbeing. Now that her needs are being met, Megala turns her attention to others, hoping that just like her, they can thrive and overcome barriers as well.
“If you can help me to face my day-to-day challenges, you can help many others in the community like me.”
All 62 women who graduated from Asian Aid’s latest Tailoring Program have gained new confidence, valuable life-skills, and are better contributing to their family’s well-being. While five women are now employed as tailors by our partner organisation’s Social Enterprise Program, receiving domestic and international orders, many of the women are taking sewing orders from clients – with a couple even setting up their own tailoring business.
Continue to help support young women like Megala reach their potential and change their families and communities by donating to our Meet The Need Fund. Visit: www.asianaid.org.au, or call (+61) 02 6586 4250 today.
Donations of $2 and over are tax deductible in Australia. Personal information is collected to process donations and to send updates about Asian Aid’s work.