Sushila sews a different future
September-2019

Sushila* was born into the Badi (prostitution) caste in a south Asian border town.  As a girl she never had the chance to attend school and knew that when she became a teenager she would have to begin earning money for her family from sex work, just like her older sister, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother all had before her.

There were no other choices for her, no other options.

She married a Badi man and had two daughters. Like other Badi men, her husband expected her to provide for the family through sex work, repeatedly beat her when he felt she was not earning enough and eventually abandoned her.  Sushila was depressed and wanted a better life for her daughters but didn’t know how this would be possible.  

One day, she met a Christian Badi woman who befriended her and invited her to church.  The church had a small scholarship fund to enable children from disadvantaged families to attend a government school.  Sushila was encouraged to apply and both her daughters began attending school.  Sushila was happy that through getting an education, her daughters would have more options in life.  

After some time, Sushila wanted to give up sex work but didn’t know how else she could provide for her family.  She had no education, no particular skills, no connections.  Love in Action had been equipping some fellowship leaders to provide counselling and health education.  We linked with another organisation to provide training on income generation, vocational training and business skills.  Sushila tried tailoring training and soon found she was very skilled at this.  She completed 6 months of training and began working as an assistant in a shop sewing clothes for women, children and babies.  She is now earning enough to stop sex work and support her family.  She is still receiving scholarship from her local fellowship for one daughter to attend school and is paying for her other daughter herself.  

Sushila has begun saving money, hoping to buy her own sewing machine and set up her own shop. There is a big demand for tailoring in her area and no shortage of work.  She is thrilled that her daughters will not be forced into sex work when they become teenagers and will have other options available to them.  And she dreams that in future she may be able to expand her tailoring shop to employ other Badi women who are looking for a way out and a different life. 

This is the kind of long-term impact the Love in Action project, started by our partner Sara,*  can have, joining with local fellowships to give them training and contacts that will make a wholistic difference for their neighbours.

To support Love in Action, please go to sim.org.nz/give/ and quote project # 98490

(names changed for privacy)