Meet Stella KinniMarch 23, 2022
"I love working here. Everybody is together and we share so many things. We celebrate festivals together and tease each other! I had always been alone and yearned for friendship. I found it here."
TAILOR AT GHAR UDYOG COLLECTIVE
Every day Stella Kunni goes on her own to work at Ghar Udyog. And every day she marvels that she can. Stella was born with a hole in her heart and for years she only left her house to see doctors, and her father and brother had to carry her on their backs. "I used to be very angry with God when I was sick. My lips would turn black from lack of oxygen, and I could not walk even a very short distance," she recalls.
At age 3 she was scheduled for a heart transplant, but it was cancelled because her father feared losing her. Finally, at age 21, with the help of her church, she received a new heart. During her recovery, her family took care of her "like a small child" and "It was only after a full year that my mother was convinced that I had become well."
When she joined GU, Stella found work and a community. "I love working here. Everybody is together and we share so many things. We celebrate festivals together and tease each other! I had always been alone before coming here and all my life I yearned for friendship. I found it here, and when work was closed during lockdown I was very stressed, missing my work and my friends in the workshop." After 2 years at the cooperative, Stella was asked to become a Program Leader, responsible for organizing and coordinating Armaan Club activities for the artisans' children. "I was scared to take on this responsibility as I do not read or write. I never went to school and lacked self-confidence. But everyone encouraged me to take it on."
Stella got married in 2011 and has a 7-year-old daughter, Syra. "I sit with her when she does her homework, so I am learning with her." Although Syra is very young, she has decided what she wants to be she grows up: a doctor. "She may change her mind," says her proud mother, "but we will give her all our support for whatever profession she chooses."
Despite her rough start in life, Stella is now thankful for many things. "Most of all I am happy because I can work and make something of my life. I have lost so many years of my life, now I want to make the most of every day."