One of the groups hit the hardest by HIV/AIDS is the widows. Rejected by their families because of the disease, these women who have little education and no job skills are thrown into the position of needing to support their families. As a solution to this, EHA’s Shalom Delhi project started a new program called Kiran, which means “ray of hope.” They have taken eight of these women whose lives have been affected by either cancer or HIV/AIDS and trained them to sew. They started out with bags and have added new items such as pillow covers and coasters, skirts and placemats. As the women sew, they bond with one another and support each other as they struggle with similar issues. While the women build their skills, their self confidence grows. The profits from their product sales allow them to feed their children.
As I shopped through of their products, I fell in love with a bag that had not yet had the lining or zipper added. One of the seamstresses rushed off to finish it. She was delighted to present it to me, and I will forever remember her smiling face as she shared a part of herself with me.