Yasmine is a quiet, soft-spoken, Indian woman. But behind her quiet demeanor lay heartache and pain.
Years ago, her husband contracted HIV and then passed the disease to her and her two sons. He died two years ago. After her village rejected her and forced her to leave her home, she found it difficult to care for herself and her boys. They all became weak and sick, and her sons died soon after.
Yasmine has survived by working in construction. She carried buckets of wet cement on her head and earned less than ten dollars a week for her hard labor. The physical strain of her work took its toll on her body.
Just a few months ago, Tabby’s, an income generation project for Indian women with HIV, offered Yasmine a job. They aim to give dignity, hope and community to the women who work with them.
A Pioneers couple, in partnership with an Indian Christian ministry, launched Tabby’s in March 2013. They train women living with HIV to do handwork and needlework that is sold locally and internationally.
While in this environment, the women have the opportunity to hear about Jesus. These Pioneers even hope to start an oral Bible study with these women soon. Like Yasmine, most of the women are functionally illiterate, hardly able to write their own names. So they need to hear stories about God.
“I am very happy working here,” Yasmine responded when asked about working at Tabby’s. “I am in good health because of this environment.”
Tabby’s and other Pioneers income generation projects around the world sell their products through Latitudes, a fair-trade business. The workers are paid a fair wage and the profits go back into the ministry to the workers and the community they serve.
Go to Latitudestore.com to shop for products from Tabby’s. All proceeds go to pay fair wages and develop more training and work for women like Yasmine.
*This name has been changed.