“Our daughters and daughter-in-laws learn from us how to save,” she explains proudly.
She says that while she was worried about handing over her money, she depended on the honesty of the Hope Project and was well rewarded for it.
| || |
Sheela was the first Hindu women to join Samrat and has been a major advocate for the program in the local Hindu community. She was born in Paharganj, but moved to DPS over fifty years ago. Back then, she said, there were no buildings; everyone lived in tents. Sheela did not have the opportunity to go to school and was married off at age fifteen. Her entire life has consisted of work. Sheela has spent the past forty-five years taking care of her husband, raising five children, and until recently, laboring as a domestic worker. She has six of her grandchildren living with her and has an overwhelming load of responsibilities. Like most of the women in her community, she gets up early and spends the day washing clothes, cleaning, fetching water, and buying groceries.
Sheela says that, truth be told, she is never happy. There is too much tension in her life and she has a heart problem. Her greatest dream is to see her granddaughters married before their reputation suffers. She also worries about living in “a bad neighborhood.” Tension between the local Hindu community and their Muslim neighbors causes a lot of fighting, and while she’d like to leave, she feels that she has no choice. When asked what changes Sheela would make in her life, she admitted that she had never really thought about it before. After some thought, she answered, “I want peace.”
At 60, Sheela is now one of the leaders of the women in her community. What she says goes. When her husband passed away, she knew that she would have to start thinking about taking care of herself. So when she decided to save money for her old age and her children, she turned to Samrat and mobilized the women of her community to begin saving with the group as well. She says that while she was worried about handing over her money, she depended on the honesty of the Hope Project and was well rewarded for it.
Sheela feels good about choosing to join the Thrift and Credit program and has done a great job passing on her wisdom to the next generation. “Our daughters and daughter-in-laws learn from us how to save,” she explains proudly. “They see we are working hard and saving our money.” Years ago, Sheela took a loan from the bank to start a grocery shop, but when the shop went under, so did her dreams. She had to shut it down. But Sheela still believes that running a shop is what she does best. Hopefully, one day, with the help of Samrat, she will be able give her dreams a second chance.