A perfect stitch
Story of Karunamayee, 19 year old girl, who surpassed all odds
Karunamayee, 19 years old and a resident of Balasore, Odisha owns an apparel designing business and also happens to be living with HIV. Throughout her young life, she had faced numerous struggles. When she was 10 years old, her father passed away and left her mother to be the sole breadwinner. After the death of her father, they found out that they were HIV positive and faced insurmountable stigma due to her status. Adding to the stigma and discrimination they faced, the family of two had to face economic hardships as they had no means to support themselves. Following into the footsteps of her late father, her mother was also forced to become a daily wage labourer. Despite her health complications, she continued to work as much as she could and through her small but significant income, she managed to educate Karunamayee till 10th grade.
Now Karunamayee felt that it was her turn to take responsibility of her mother. Despite her efforts, she remained jobless post her matriculation. Fortunately, the outreach worker from SNP+ (an organisation working with Alliance India’s Vihaan programme), which works for people living with HIV, came to her rescue. They oriented her mother on a training programme held by IL&FS (a training and placement centre). After completing her training in tailoring skills, she got a job placement outside the city, but she had to refuse as her mother was unwilling to leave her alone. Her mother took a loan from a SHG (self-help group) and bought her a sewing machine. After a few hiccups, her talented tailoring skills helped her make a sustainable livelihood for herself and her mother, as she had dreamed. She had finally stitched a perfect finish to her story and now lives a content life.