Life has a way of presenting opportunities when you least expect them to come before you. One needs to be alert and determined enough to make the most of these chances. 29-year-old Manjushree Roy Chowdhury who stays in Haldia, West Bengal, was a housewife taking care of her husband and mother-in-law when she decided to grab the chance to change her life.
21 year old Suresh from Warangal is the youngest member in a family that comprises his parents, 2 older brothers and sister-in-law. His father and eldest brother are daily wage workers while his second brother is a mobiliser. Before Suresh started earning, the total family income was around Rs. 6500. When he quit his B. Pharmacy midway due to lack of interest, his brother informed him about the EyeMitra program taking place at Warangal.
Vennala is a 19 year old girl from Warangal who has completed her education till 10th standard. She was unable to finish her HSC due to the sheer distance between her government school and house. She lives with her parents, brother and sister, both siblings being older than her. Her father is a farmer and the family was below poverty line before Vennala began to earn. She found out about the EyeMitra program through a LabourNet mobilizer who played an important role in convincing her parents to allow her to join the program.
Life gives second chances to those who believe in themselves, and 30-year-old Rekha from Bangalore is a prime example of this saying. Rekha is a qualified B.Com graduate who is married to Sashidhar, a trainee at Idea Telecommunications, and is the mother of two sons. On being asked why she was unemployed even though she was a commerce graduate, she states openly, “My family was not supportive enough.”
Nandhapriya is a housewife with two children, daughter aged 11 and a son aged 9 years. Her husband is into agriculture. They have been leading a fairly comfortable life in Hosur, a small industrial town near Bangalore. But, Nandhapriya has, over the years, developed a liking for learning new skills.
While dreams can be many, realistic goals come only through knowledge and experience. Anita Maske, a 10th qualified housewife hailing from Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, was always passionate about makeup and beauty treatments. Married for 12 years, her husband was capable enough to take care of her small family. However, her aspirations pushed her to dream of something bigger for herself, especially in the beauty sector.
Minu belongs to a low income household. Her family comprises of five members, including her, namely, husband, mother-in-law and two young daughters. Her husband is a 10th pass D-group worker in the agriculture sector. Her mother-in-law is illiterate and unemployed.
Some say life is like a bicycle, and one must keep moving else there is the risk of falling off. It appears that 33-year old Raveendra Shetty, hailing from Bengaluru’s KR Puram, would subscribe to this philosophy. After completing his 10th standard, Raveendra enrolled in an ITI course and worked as an electrical maintenance person. He chose to join the three-month long Electrical Course as it was a certification program and he believed that a certificate held great value in his field of work.
As long as a person keeps moving forward, he or she will enjoy the fruits of labour. 21-year old Subarna Mondal had to drop out of formal education after clearing her twelfth standard examinations due to her family’s financial trouble. She is one of four children in an eight-member household including her parents and grandparents. She took to making the most of her education by teaching some students in her neighborhood. One of Subarna’s friends who had enrolled for HUL Prabhat and LabourNet Beauty & Hair Care course in Haldia told her about the program. Subarna decided to join this course as it “seemed interesting and more lucrative” than her current work.
22 year old Prabhakaran says, matter-of-factly, “I was poor in studies and my family was poor in finances, although my father owns a goods vehicle that generates some income. What choice did I have other than to look for work?” As fate would have it, family’s economic conditions kept Prabhakaran awake at nights while he was pursuing his degree. Needless to say, he failed in a few subjects and decided not to sit for arrear exam. Instead, he began to look for a job that would help support the family.
Mahalakshmi had just reached the threshold of adolescence when her father, a daily wage mason, fell ill and got bedridden due to excessive alcohol consumption. Her two younger sisters were mere kids at the time. Their mother, a housekeeper employed in SIPCOT IT Park in Chennai, was always at the helm of family affairs due to her husband’s irresponsible ways. “My mother had to take care of the family as well as the financials ever since I was a little girl. Father has always lamented that mother could not give him a son, so he started drifting away”, says Mahalakshmi.
Rajalakshmy is a 34-year-old housewife from Chinamanikund, Pondicherry. Her husband, S Umapati, works as a shoe merchant in Pondicherry. Occasionally, Rajalakshmy used to assist her husband in managing the shoe business. She lives in a joint family and there is a total of 10 people in the household. The average monthly income of the household is approximately INR 40000.
Elumalai is a resident of Chinamanikund, Pondicherry. The twenty six year old had to drop out of school in the early years due to many difficulties faced by the family. Owing to the lack of any formal education, Elumalai had to take up odd jobs. Somehow, he was able to find a job as a barber and started learning the basic skills sets for this profession. He lives with his father, Kanayan, his mother and his brother who is currently studying. Elumalai was the only earning member of the family and he was able to generate a monthly income of INR 8000.