Written by : Sarthak Jhalani, (Intern UPAY)
Her hands were laden with charcoal ashes, forehead shining with sweat — the wrinkles on her face gave away all her agony. This is the story of Seema from Gurugram.
As an ironing lady, she worked day in and day out to ensure that her kids didn’t starve themselves to sleep. Despite all the hardships, she always hoped to bring a change in her children’s lives. She resided in the slums of Sector-57, where she strove hard day and night to make an additional income.
Her children had been associated with UPAY since November 2019. Even amidst trials and tribulations, Seema used to sustain herself and the family. However, the COVID-19 outbreak and the ensuing lockdown affected the earnings and livelihoods of several families in India, including Seema’s. People’s apprehension about giving clothes for steam pressing meant that she could no longer financially support her family.
Nonetheless, Seema did find light at the end of the tunnel. She came to know about UPAY Skill development centers and enrolled in the Gurugram center. With the training provided, she learned stitching and tailoring and soon became fluent with the needle.
As time passed, she got herself out of the financial crisis by manufacturing and selling clothes. Just as she was about to reach a deadlock again, when the pandemic hit the peak, escalating the demand for masks. The team at UPAY motivated and encouraged her to pursue stitching masks as it provided quick money.
It gives us immense pride to share that as of now, she has made over 400 masks and has earned a lot more than expected. Recently, she bought a second-hand sewing machine that has allowed her to double the production.
It is stories such as these that give our volunteers the encouragement to work harder and uplift the unprivileged. Women like Seema prove to be a source of inspiration for the masses who have accepted poverty as their fate. We strongly believe that with their efforts and the dedication of our meticulous team, we can help improve their standards of living.