Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Who Made My Clothes? Profile 2 of 6: Mamta's Story

Name: Mamta
Age: 32
Married: yes for 12 years
Children: 4 (3 daughters 12, 7 and 9 years old and 1 son, 5 years old)


“I very much like making clothes with new designs. As a child I loved to decorate the house.”

Mamta, as a young mother of four has to face a lot of challenges in life. As a young girl she was already very interested in handicrafts and decorating, but wanted to become a doctor. When her father’s sister got married, Mamtas’ family took her out of school because they couldn't afford the school fees anymore, ending her education at 7th grade. In India it is tradition that the family of the bride provides a dowry and pays for most of the wedding expenses.This often causes financial struggles for low income families and is a common explanation for parents preference for having sons instead of daughters.

“My parents in law didn't want me to go outside the house because I am a woman. But now I do it and I like it very much.”

At the age of 20 Mamta got married to her husband and moved in with his family, which is the common way in India. For the following years she took care of the household and her children. Mamta left the house only occasionally to go shopping on the market. She hardly had any social interactions with people apart from her family in law.

“Before Sambhali I was very introverted and was scared to face people or to talk to them. Now I feel powerful and talk freely.”

Four years ago Mamta started working in Sambhali’s Graduate Sewing Centre. She had been working in another boutique beforehand, but she felt mistreated there, leaving her desperately unhappy. Neighbours told her about Sambhali and she was very interested in the opportunity to learn English which is taught by international volunteers to the women at the trust.

“When I came to Sambhali I felt like I'm with my family. I feel free here.”


Mamta enjoys the work at Sambhali because she can be herself at the centre and can bring in new ideas which are well appreciated. Her husband fell ill a couple of years ago and is unable to work. Mamta’s salary from Sambhali is now the only income for the family which is a lot of responsibility for her. The money earned in just one job and hardly any support from the government is not enough to send all of her children to school, causing her to prioritise the education of her son – the one with the most earning potential. However she hopes that in the future her daughters will be able to become educated and powerful to have an easier life.

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