Shruti can’t tell you how old she is—she doesn’t know. Before she started working at Freeset, her life was very hard. Her mother, father and grandmother all died and Shruti was left to pay for the funerals. Even the man in her life deserted her.
She used all the money she’d saved and worked to get more. But if she didn’t have customers, she didn’t eat.
“I came to work at Freeset so I could provide for myself and my family and my grandchildren,” Shruti says. “I used to pray to God to help me and he has shown me the right road. God gave me this job and now I am healthy.”
When she was 12 years old, Puja was forced into a child marriage so her parents could support their other 12 children. She moved with her young husband to Calcutta, where she was then trafficked by her landlord and sold to a brothel. After two years of physical and sexual abuse, Puja was rescued and sent to a women’s union where she received education, health care, and handicrafts training.
Today she supports herself by using this training and has saved enough money to share an apartment with another trafficking survivor. She has led workshops on embroidery and shared her story to inspire other women. “The work for Made By Survivors has given me not only my first experience of independence, but also a new identity as an artisan, rather than a victim,” she says.
18-year-old Srey has lived at Hagar for almost two years, receiving shelter, clothes, food, counseling and skills training.
“But what I like most,” she says, “is hearing Jesus’ words.”
Srey has blossomed from a shy, scared girl to a courageous problem-solver. She enjoys her new skill of tailoring clothes and is even looking for an additional part-time job on the weekends so she can keep improving her skills. She is saving money to open her own tailoring shop someday.