Selvi, a 2019 graduate of one of our sewing classes brought ‘out of my slavery’ after two decades of abuse

‘My husband treated me like a slave in the home. He never allowed me and my children out of the house, keeping us at home under his control. In this hard situation I grew my children’ – Selvi, aged 39

Selvi is a 39-year-old mother of four. She graduated from our tailoring programme at the end of 2019 enabling her to live an independent and safe life for the first time.

Until then Selvi’s life had been limited by poverty and position. As a teenager she was forced into marriage with an alcoholic and abusive man after her father killed himself. For two decades her husband enslaved her and locked her within the home. During this period her third daughter died and her eldest daughter was forced into a marriage.

It was only when her husband had a stroke that Selvi had the opportunity to create her own life, forced as she was to earn the family’s income. Never having worked or handled money, she came to BBFI’s partner organisation, and within two months began our six-month tailoring course.

On graduation, Selvi took advantage of a loan to purchase her first sewing machine. Our Indian partner NGO organised her first order of shirts and Selvi, aged 39, earned her first ever income of 7,000Rs (roughly £74). This means more than just money: it’s the start of an autonomous life, with the confidence and opportunity that brings. Selvi is earning and all three children are being educated through our evening classing. Says Selvi,

‘I [am] really so pleased and thank you all for your timing help for bring me out of my slavery and make me independent in earning – Selvi