Vimala’s Story

Vimala’s Story

“I did not work before; my husband thought people would talk if I went out to work. He became sick and went to AHM Trust clinic and when he came home he was very upset. He was HIV+ but he did not tell me that. Then my son Anish became ill and I thought he would die and I worried so much. But my husband would not let me get him treated as he thought then everyone would know he was HIV+ as well. Finally a friend suggested that I get tested and the tests showed that I was HIV+ but I joined a support group and was educated about the disease.

My husband died and left us with no land or income so I started to work here to support myself and my son. He goes to school right next door to Blue Mango and I get my anti-retrovirus treatment from the Government Hospital each month and Blue Mango pays me for the time I am away getting my treatment. Everything I save is for my son. When I had no money I was shunned, now people are beginning to accept me again.”

Vimala works in Blue Mango Trust, an organisation for women nestled under the cardamom hills near Bodinayakanaur in Tamil Nadu. Her fellow workers include 20 women with disabilities and 28 other women who have had to face difficulties like Vimala. They make, silk and cotton bags, cushion covers, fabulous soft toys and lots and lots of pretty bead jewellery. They each receive highly subsidised lunch each day, and many other benefits along with their earnings. Here what some of the others had to say

Tamil Selvi “I earn well and get good child care”

Kabita “ I have worked here for six years before I was very shy and now I am bold enough to speak out”

Selvi “Before coming to Blue Mango I had very little money, now I have savings”

Jayanthi “ As a person with disabilities I could not get work, now I earn well”

Sushila “ Eight years ago I started working here and knew nothing, now my skills have improved so much. Since I have come here low cost lunches have been added and we even have music playing whilst we work. I only want to work and I will learn anything to be able to do that”

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