Artisan Stories

Priya’s Story

Born the youngest daughter to a poor alcoholic, Priya was virtually invisible in her slum home. Upon a ‘recruiter’ coming to her village and speaking of the need for a young woman to work in the city, Priya was finally seen, but for all the wrong reasons. As a fresh and easily managed commodity, Priya was sold for less than $400. She was 13. She endured for months. The months turned to years. After about five years of abuse, she conceived. Against all odds she was able to carry the baby to full term while still enduring daily abuse. She gave birth only to see the child die four days later.

Violence, abuse and death surrounded her. Within the next year she was forced to abort another pregnancy and learned that she had become HIV positive. Already facing a harsh cultural stigma, being HIV positive pressed her into a depth of darkness and depravity not worth describing. Somehow she survived and was set free. She was brought into an aftercare home marked by love and care. She was offered skill and trade development and took exceptionally well to the tailoring training. She is our first employee. “I never imagined life free from that place because I was a slave there. I tried to run away but never succeeded.

I thought I have to live there till death.” She smiles big as she talks of freedom, “I want to enjoy my freedom, do things in my way, like get up late on holidays.” She continues, “and to become a master in tailoring.” She is well on her way.