-this story is about an indian woman, who had a lot of sorrow in her life. But she decided to stand up-
BORAMMA – A BRAVE FIGHTER
I was born and brought up in Angadageri (Village of Bijapur District), together with my five siblings. I was the eldest, so I had most of the responsibility and was looked up for taking care of them. Our parents, Sangappa and Basamma were a typical agriculture based family owning 10 acres of land to cultivate. Everything we had was a house apart from this land.
Because of our modest property, Mum and Dad were longing to have a male kid, to have a guarantee somebody will stay with them in older days, taking care of them, mentally and financially (in India the men always stay with their wife and children at the parents place – especially in villages). After their fifth girl their wish came true. I had a lot of work at home and I was too young to understand the importance of education, so I decided to help my mom and I stopped going to school. Among looking after my five siblings, cleaning the house and cooking for all the family members were the other exercises I had to do every day. Of course I was happy to have sisters and a brother, but at the same time I wanted to have some time for me and my interest. My dream of studying and doing something in life got crushed. There was no chance to make an own decision what kind of live I wanted to lead. At the age of 10, I had to act like a woman. There was no space for my dreams, my feelings or my desire to be just a free village-girl, allowed to go to school and play with other girls. I felt a big expectance, which weighed on my shoulders – I knew my life would be planned by my family. And yes, sometimes I was sad about that, but on the other hand my family was the greatest thing I had. I trusted in their beliefs, traditions and in their decisions about me and my future.
One of those was my marriage, after four years, at the age of 14. Basically, it was because of my old grandmother, who insisted on my father to get me married. As a small Indian girl, I was unaware of the darker sides of child marriage. But -of course- I did not know that around this time. Honestly I do not remember my feelings very well. But I think as every young village-girl I felt afraid to leave my home and to start a new life without a responsible person. At the same time I was excited to have my own life, a husband and my own children one day…
Finally at the age of 14 my life as a wife started although I went to live with him only after I turned 18. Soon after 5 months of moving in I got pregnant and was very happy about it. The awesome feeling to become a mother was in every part of my body.
But destiny had something else of me.
During the 8th month of my pregnancy my husband passed away in an accident. I was a 19-year-old pregnant widow. I went into depression; I was not strong enough to start a new life. Further, my 2 months old baby died of brain fever; it increased my sorrows in life. I was completely lost. All hope, every little strength just disappeared. Left over was a young body, which learned, how deep pain can be.
One of my family members introduced me to Sabala. Sabala helped me mingle with people and showed me new perspectives of life. I learned tailoring and hand embroidery which helped me earn my livelihood and made me develop into an independent woman.
My life got better and I started to feel the good and sunny moments. But after some time a new, difficult and painful part of my life began.
My dad had AIDS, so he passed away a few years back. And my sister followed him a year ago due to delivery complications. The economical conditions got worse because of all the medical expenses for my father and sister. I felt worse and depressed, but I overcame it soon. I had become strong with every passing incident. I decided to start fighting for my family’s welfare as I got support from Sabala financially and mentally.
Happiness returned back to me. I am proud of my work and glad to be a part of Sabala.
Boramma’s courage needs a round of applause. In spite of all evil things that happened to her, she made up her mind to stand for herself and her family. Sabala supported her but it was her courage which helped more than anything. Being from a poor family of a small village, she learned about her legal rights, women’s rights and land rights (for getting her husband’s property).
There are many widows around in the society who lose their hope about their life because of the social stigma / lack of family support.
Boramma is an evidence of the change. Her story demonstrates the courage and humbleness to learn things in life and so she did not stop living her life. This story is a symbol for all women who lost their life force, but they stood up and created a new life. Boramma shows the right way and proves how your life can be changed. Her courage is a sign for women all over the world. Her courage demonstrates the possibility to transform your life from a painful destiny to a happy life.
Sabala supports each individual with the attention required, views each case as a woman seeking her identity, dignity and rights. Each case highlights the change that is taking place in the lives of women and their demand for respect and dignity – the change from being seen as weak and helpless to capable and seeking their rights.
Today Boramma is a independent woman, who is an entrepreneur. She started her own business and is living in Bijapur together with her youngest sister and her brother. Their mother takes care of their land.
For me, as a girl from the western society, stories like this are just unbelievable. I can´t image how strong this woman was and still is. Boramma is around 42 now and she is managing her life and that of her sister. She decided not to get married again, even when she had the chance to find a man. I am sure she is proud of herself and her life. That is the way how Boramma could become this beautiful woman.
To see her in her own house with her sewing machine is amazing. Because of Sabala, she had the chance to learn tailoring and that was the reason, why she could start her own business. So much of pain in her life and so much happiness and freedom returned back to her today. It was such a great experience to see her now… Her story touched my heart very deeply and I hope this story can be a message to the world. Humanity and love are the most valuable and important things. At the same time, these are the munitions against war, violence and discrimination…
-Story written by Tejashwini Yalawar and Clarissa Kassai-