Varsha*, is a young woman who has been one of our quickest learners at the Vocational Training Centre. Varsha is originally from West Bengal and is the daughter of one of the commercial sex workers from the red-light district of Bhiwandi. Her mother has been staying in different redlight areas of Mumbai for the past 20 years. When Varsha was 12 years old, her mother decided to marry her off with the fear that Varsha would also meet the same fate as hers and be trafficked into the sex trade. She thought marriage would be a safety net for her daughter.

Unfortunately, the participant was married to a man who was 10-15 years older than her. For him, Varsha was just a child and he did not respect her rights. She was in an abusive marriage where she faced a lot of physical and emotional abuse by her husband. She was a victim of domestic violence by her husband’s family too. She also had a son at the age of 15 with her husband which was a challenge to her as she had no support. Due to family responsibilities at a young age, she couldn’t study or learn any skill. Devastated by this, Varsha came to Mumbai to be with her mother. Her mother, being a CSW, knew the consequences and life challenges of staying in a red-light area. To protect her daughter from men and pimps, she rented a house outside the red-light area and made sure that her daughter did not enter the area at any point.

During the Sahaara staff field visit, Varsha’s mother requested that she would like to send her daughter for the vocational training course run by Sahaara. After taking the case into consideration, we allowed her to be a part of the course as she was at high risk of second-generation trafficking.

Varsha joined the course with full confidence and enthusiasm. She completed the course early as she was a quick learner. During her course she also learned Adult literacy and Pre-employment soft skills. She was also exposed to a 2-months extensive production setup where she made laptop bags with compartment, small school bags, sling bags, pouches along with ADB bags. During our production of bags, we found Varsha’s performance to be the best among the batch as she had got good speed and finishing of products. She would also stay back to help the team finish the work on time.

Varsha learnt with dedication and gave her best in her work. To recognize her hard work, she was awarded as the “Star Performer” during the production of bags. This boosted her confidence and she expressed her desire to work in a company post completion of her training. During her tenure in training we saw Varsha transformed into a responsible, helpful and dedicated woman. She is full of integrity and hardworking by nature.

She has now completed her training and has got placed in a company named Somerset after clearing interviews and a skill test. Varsha believes that after joining Somerset, she will have a new hope and can serve her family in a better way.

*Name changed to protect beneficiary identity.