A child of the slum

Yashodhara is a child of the slums. Her father works at the mill, where he inhales the poisonous fumes of dyed clothes all day. This has destroyed his health and his lungs are almost at collapse point (he is 50). His two sons are uneducated and work as labourers who earn approx $50 a month (you need at least $100 to buy food and pay rent). Yashodara is the only person in her family who has a college degree, but she is still unable to find a job. She does not have the money necessary to bribe her way into a government job and she lacks confidence to find a job in the highly competitive private sector where english and good looks are essential. ‘You are too black’ they said when she applied for a job. In India, connections are everything.

Yashodhara’s roof leaks in the 3 month monsoon season. Her brother needs and operation and her father needs to retire. We are helping her when no one else would. Otherwise poverty would force her into an abusive marriage where poverty is passed onto another generation (domestic violence is very common in financially strained families, and also pervades upper classes to, but there are also many loving marriages). We are training Yashodhara in English, computer skills and employing her as a social worker, which empowers her and her family. She is able to educate and improve the lives of other women around her, as well as help her own family and community.

* Names and photos may have been changed for privacy and safety reasons.