A Husband for Purnima: Training center gives woman a job and a wedding

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Happy anniversary, Purnima!

Purnima and her husband recently celebrated one year of marriage, and they’re even thinking about having children. But their love story is an unlikely one, and it wouldn’t have happened without your gifts to a job training center.

DESTINED FOR POVERTY

In her South Asian home, most women are born into poverty and destined to stay there. Jobs for women are few and far between and most try to get by as house cleaners. A woman is expected to marry early, bear children, and obey her husband. Because most marriages are arranged, marrying for love is rare.

This is what Purnima has grown up knowing. Her father has been in and out of her family’s life for as long as she can remember. He even sold most of their property, leaving the family poor and landless. When he came home the last time, he had major medical problems and hasn’t been able to work. Health problems kept her mother from picking up much work either.

That means it fell to Purnima and her younger sister to support the family for years. Pay the rent. Arrange leases for housing. Put food on the table. It’s a lot for a 20-year-old.

But Purnima had an ally many girls don’t—the handicrafts training center friends like you support. She and about 30 other girls have spent years coming to the center, learning skills like embroidery and sewing. Your gifts provide the girls with a respectable wage for their work, so they’re able to provide for their families. The beautiful bags, jewelry, and accessories they make are shipped around the world.

But Purnima was racing against time. It was only a matter of time before her father arranged her marriage. She wouldn’t have a say in the matter. And depending on who he chose, she could be condemned to poverty forever.

LOVE CONNECTION

That is . . . until the program leaders paid for Purnima and other girls to attend a Christian camp.

While they were there, a Christian man noticed Purnima at a distance. He came home and told his parents to stop looking for his wife—he had found her! He sent word to the center that he wanted to marry Purnima.

At first, Purnima’s father disapproved. But in time, he changed his mind, and Purnima said yes! The training center arranged all the wedding plans between the two families. They paid for all of Purnima’s share of the wedding expenses, since the family had such little money.

On the day of the wedding, Purnima and all her bridesmaids spent the whole day at the beauty parlor, getting primped for the ceremony. Purnima wore the traditional lehenga, a long, flowing dress of gold and scarlet. Gold bangles glinted on her forearms. She was quite the beauty. Two of the center leaders even got to escort Purnima into the ceremony.

INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION

Purnima finally has love and security in her life. The center has hired her as a full-time staff member teaching younger girls embroidery and older girls more complex sewing techniques. It wasn’t long ago that she was one of them, another girl just trying to make ends meet.

Now, look how far she’s come. Married to a man she chose. A career. A family in her future. She’s an inspiration to those girls, an example of what their lives could be.

Without your gifts, Purnima’s love story might not have happened. She might still be laboring for little, unable to escape the poverty so many other women just have to accept. Provide another woman with job skills training through our Gift Catalog so she can pursue a life of her own choosing.

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