Read more about my partnership with Hope International here.
Kalpana came home from work each night exhausted, disheveled, damp, and only 32 cents closer to making ends meet. Since her husband was out of work, she had been forced to find employment to provide for her daughters, ages five and two. She missed spending time with them, but couldn’t bear to think what might happen if she didn’t continue to work such grueling hours. She was working for them – she reminded herself – as hours of monotonous dishwashing droned on and on. Still, 32 cents a day could hardly sustain a family. She dreamed of somehow earning enough to provide for her children.
At the church she attends, Kalpana learned of self help groups administered by HOPE International. She could join a group of other hardworking mothers who would pool their savings, demonstrate their fiscal responsibility, and then obtain loans. Kalpana received $125 to purchase a sewing machine. Her eyes lit with a new glow when she thought about the opportunity to start her own business and the chance to utilize a skill passed on from her mother when she was only a child.
Kalpana’s sewing machine provided an infusion of confidence and a wealth of new opportunities. She visited department stores near her home in urban India and won contracts to sew key fobs, Bermuda shorts, sari blouses, and dresses. The store provides the raw materials, limiting Kalpana’s upfront expenses, and Kalpana provides the labor and a high quality finished product.
As a seamstress Kalpana earns more than 10 times her previous wage – enough to provide for her family. She works from her home and is able to spend far more time watching her little girls grow up. Kalpana dreams of taking marketing classes and expanding her business by hiring an employee and landing more contracts. Mostly she dreams for her daughters. She wants them to sleep on beds in a sturdy home and she wants them to attend school.