Meet Sherebanu BootwalaApril 20th, 2022
"My life today is comfortable. But it has been a long and hard journey. After my marriage, my husband was not earning much, and I had no skills and knew nothing of Mumbai which was a huge and terrifying city."
EMBROIDERY ARTISAN AT SAHARA COLLECTIVE
Sherebanu had one dream in life: that her children get a good education so they could get respectable jobs. Today she is the proud mother of her son Yusuf, a software engineer and her daughter, Masooma, a teacher.
"My life today is comfortable. But it has been a long and hard journey," Sherebanu recalls. Her mother died when she was 3 months old, and she was then looked after by her grandmother. Due to lack of money to pay for fees and supplies, she had to stop going to school after 10th grade. After her marriage, things continued to be difficult. "My husband was not earning much, and I had no skills and knew nothing of Mumbai which was a huge and terrifying city to me." For a while her father-in-law helped her pay for her children to attend English medium schools. But when he died, she nearly gave up hope of being able to give her children a good education.
"I remember being called to my son's school and told that I would have to take him out if his fees were not paid. That was the saddest day of my life." To earn money, she learned to sew and took personal orders, but the earnings were very low. Then she got a sewing job in a small workshop, but they cheated her out of her pay. After learning about Sahara Collective, she kept going regularly to ask for a job.
"Through MarketPlace and Sahara, I discovered myself, "she asserts. "I learned that information can be as valuable as money for helping others. There are many different government programs but they can only help people if they know about them."
Summing up, she says, "I have come so far because at Sahara everyone is supportive and there is a lot of care and unity among all the women. We share the good and bad and I never feel alone in my fight for a better life."