Saturday, March 8 is International Women’s Day — a global observance celebrating achievements of women throughout history, with an eye toward the future. To celebrate this important day, we bring you the story of Savithri, mother of a sponsored child in India, who became empowered to help her family and her community. Congratulations, Savithri!
Savithri has always dreamed big – even in the humblest of circumstances.
Her husband’s modest income as a rural artisan in India is not enough to accomplish the goals she has for her family. Savithri provides a laundry service in her community to earn extra income for her family.
Savithri is known as a dhobi, or washerwoman.
“My laundry service is in good demand,” she said proudly.
Her youngest son, Rajesh, is sponsored through Unbound. For the past 12 years, Savithri has made a business collecting dirty clothes from different households, washing them at home, and then returning them clean and freshly ironed.
Savithri didn’t stop there. She got a microloan through her mothers group to purchase a charcoal-fired “iron box,” a tool that helps her iron more efficiently.
It was such a success that she took out more loans, this time to rebuild her family’s house. She used concrete instead of mud for a safer, more durable structure.
Savithri continued moving forward, her confidence increasing with each step. She has repaid every loan using the profits she makes from her business. She was selected to be a ward member in her community’s panchayat elections. Panchayat is a form of local self-government in India.
“Now that I am in the political elections of my area, I have not forgotten my occupation,” Savithri said. “I dream of a clean and hygienic environment for my community.”
These days Savithri looks confidently to the future, always quick to help others in honor of the support she received when she needed it.
She also sees her leadership role as a way to empower other women.
“I advise women to have faith in themselves,” she said, “and stand for the rights they deserve.”