Working with the Sahara group has given Pushpa a second chance. As a young girl, she was able to attend school, while also helping her family run a “kirana” (ration) shop. However, she chose to leave school in tenth grade and married at sixteen. “In hindsight I think that was a terrible decision but I didn’t know better at the time. I could’ve become a bank officer, government employee, or if anything, at least started a shop of my own.”
Pushpa’s husband, a cab driver, wasn’t earning enough to raise their four children, so twelve years ago, she began working with Sahara, happy to be able to contribute to the household. She was lucky enough to live with just her family—rather than with in-laws who would control her life—but began to feel even greater freedom working with the artisans at Sahara. “We work hard, but we also play games, jump around like kids. These things are frowned upon in society here, but I can do all this freely because my in-laws don’t live with us.”
Pushpa’s hard work has paid off. Her children, now in their twenties, have all continued their educations. Her two sons are studying computer engineering, and one daughter is studying accounting. They are all determined to pay for their advanced schooling as well, contributing to the household as their mother has done. Pushpa plans to continue her work now that her children are grown—for the freedom, the fun, and like many mothers, to save for her children's’ marriages.