Sangeeta and her family, her mother, father and two sisters, run a small business in a back alley selling beautiful Indian style clothing and handmade accessories to tourists. They all live together in a very small space behind their business that consists of enough room for them all to lie down to sleep(they don’t even have mattresses to sleep on) and a very small kitchen area for cooking, often over an open fire. I quickly befriended them as I walked by each time I came to or from where I was staying. After establishing a friendship, they invited me in to share some Chai. I asked Sangeeta if she’d share their story, as I could see the suffering in their eyes, even through the beautiful optimistic smiles they all gave.
Sangeeta also has has two brothers, Ramesh, 20, Rahul, 16. They live in a hostel, far from their village in Karnataka(because their delapitating family home is not safe to live in), where they go to school. Though this is a financial burden, Sangeeta’s family has made it a priority for her brothers to go to school so they will have future opportunity to have good jobs and they can then help support and take care of the family.
Sangeetas mother, as shown in the picture, is 40 years old. She has born 5 children, her 5th, a son didn’t survive past a few months. During the 8th month of her second pregnancy she was in an awful rickshaw accident, miraculously she didn’t lose the baby, though suffered serious facial injuries. You can see through her photo the deformity she now bears, along with constant body pain and spinal injury. She has already gone through reconstruction surgery on her face and is waiting to see if spinal surgery will also be needed. She is on an unimaginable amount of medication and painkillers just to get through her days. She is losing the will to go on living if it weren’t for the fear of not being there to take care of and support her family.
There is more to their story. One year ago, Sangeeta was spending time in Delhi with her recently wedded husband. She fell ill and her mom made the trek to come help her. While there they needed to withdrawal some money from an atm. This is not something they do often so needed to ask for help. The man who helped, unbeknownst to them, was fraudulent. He managed to rob them of their entire life savings, a total of 800,000INR($15,656CA). This was a major loss for them as a large part of that money was in the form of a loan which they are still having to pay back. Sangeeta’s Mom was saving the money to rebuild their delapitating home in Karnatica, where they still Iive off season from selling their goods in Varkala.
Ive been deeply touched by this friendship and have made it my purpose here to help in any way I can. We as North Americans are so extremely fortunate in how we live our lives, and though we all suffer in our own ways, we are privileged to have help and support nearby. Sangeetas family is not so fortunate. They are making it through their days in hopes of a miracle. It is my hope that if each person who reads this message feels inspired to donate a small amount of $20-40(or more if you can!) and we reach 1000 people, our goal will be reached, Sangeetas family will be able to pay off the loan and have enough left to begin to rebuild their house and not live in fear each day that their business will be closed because they can’t pay the rent. Her mom will be able to have the medical care needed to fix her spine. Her brothers, and Sangeeta herself, can finish school and find good jobs to ensure the happiness of their family’s future.
Thank you thank you thank you for reading and Sharing with your friends and family. Sangeeta is extremely grateful for the possibility of a happier life for her and her family.
Namaste ~Rhonda, Sangeeta and Family.
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