Place: New Delhi, India
Date: June 2014
Interview and translation by Lena Dorfschmidt
My name is Sunita, from the village Emtadpur, but now I live in Faridabad, Delhi. I have two daughters and one son. My husband works in a export company.
Our society is male dominated. My aim in life is to help our society to overcome this discrimination of women. This frame of thought is a burden to our society.
I entered Nav Srishti [a women and children’s rights NGO] in 2006, before that I had been giving tuition. I started teaching school drop outs from grade 1 to 5 and enrolled them in MCD [government] schools.
When I started working in Nav Srishti, my husband tried to stop me. He would tell me not to go. He didn’t want me to leave the house, because he was worried what people might think. He wanted me to be a house wife. But I wanted to make progress in life. I have learned so much that opened opportunities for me. I can read and write. I want to use these skills.
Since childhood I wanted to do social work. That is why I ignored my husbands concerns.
Business is for people who want to live in the High Society. They work for themselves. They do not help. They help only themselves. I want to help.
I had to fight my husband [to be able to work].
In 2009 Nav Srishti started a new project under the support of TATA Trust. I joined and worked in the field of education and community mobilization. I had to monitor the community and worked from door to door, informing people about educational opportunities provided by both the government and Nav Srishti. My husband didn’t want me to work outside. He tried to stop me, but I fought him and continued with full commitment.
He was afraid. He said, “What kind of people are you going to meet, the way is so long and people are not nice.” But I wasn’t afraid. I am brave.
If I do not go out, if I do not work – who else will? My father was a very special man. He always supported me and worked hard to send me to a private school. I have the privilege of education. I should use it. If I go, maybe more women will join me. That is our fight.
Now I work as a quality coordinator in the Avaz Utao (“Raise your Voice”) project that fights crime against women. Delhi’s government supports this project.
Again starting to work in this new project meant having to fight my husband. The program’s working areas are Neb Sarai, Maidan Garhi and Chattarpur. I am from Faridabad. My husband didn’t want me to travel this far.
This project changed my position in the community. People know me. They share their problems with me, have confidence. They have trust in me. I can do something for them.
At last I want to emphasize that I feel all the effort it cost me to reach where I am now was worth it. If I hadn’t suffered that much for my job, I would be like any other women. I would have never gotten the position in society that I have today. Suffering lets us gain a position in society and enables us to fight male domination.
I can motivate my children. My children depend on me, not my husband. I am not dependent on my husband.
My children learned that studying is important. They know that I want them to be independent.
In future, I want to go on learning. Maybe I can take computer class.
For my children I hope, that they go on studying. And maybe they will even do social work. That though, depends on them.
As an advice for other women, I might say… I may not be well educated, but I am fighting at least for my children’s education.
Without women – where would we be? Chaos. Children would not study any more. They need their mothers.