Meet Renu Vishvakarma
"We should have confidence in ourselves."
Renu Vishvakarma - SAHARA COLLECTIVE SINCE 2016
The past year has shown us that life can be unpredictable. We have all been through changes emotional, physical and financial but it has been the toughest for those who lost a loved one.
Renu lost her husband in October. She lives with many family members and there had been friction between her husband, who was an alcoholic, and the others. He was hospitalized a week before his death. His family did not visit or claim his body after he died. It was left to Renu to organize the rituals and traditions after her husband's death, while also caring for a bed-ridden mother-in-law. "My children have always been hard working and supportive," she said. "The tragedy brought us together as a family like never before."
Renu has been part of Sahara for 5 years, a relatively short period compared to artisans who have worked there for decades. Nevertheless, the group went out of their way to support her. They contributed financial help for the medical bills and took turns cooking food for Renu and her children. The women visited daily to offer emotional support as well.
When Renu first joined Sahara, she didn't participate in group discussions much, her demeanor quiet. As a child she was nicknamed 'Gungi Gudiya' (literal translation "dumb doll") because she had a speech problem. "I have learnt how to speak after coming here," Renu says. "My most important learning is that we should have confidence in ourselves."