Meet Pondiselvi. A child bride yesterday. A confident and independent woman today.

Young Pondiselvi was married at the tender age of 17 years. That’s because in the tiny village of  Viralimalai in the Pudukkottai District of Tamil Nadu where she hails from, the community considers girls to be a burden and gets them married off as soon as possible. By the time Pondiselvi was 25, she was already a mother of three and struggling to make ends meet on her husband’s meager wages.

 Similar to many like her, Pondiselvi was determined to change her life: there had to be a way out of the continuous cycle of poverty. Terre des Hommes supported project Sumangali BMZ-C&A (implemented by project partners CARE T and READ Foundation) gave her just that opportunity. When the project team met Pondiselvi during a survey and offered support, she jumped at the opportunity. Fighting all odds she enrolled into one of the project’s programs and started training as a tailor. 

The next year was hard. Pondiselvi could only make time for her course when her two older children were at school and would have to take her infant son with her to training sessions. The project staff was very encouraging, motivating Pondiselvi to finish her course. When she did, the Sumangali program provided a loan to start her off on her very own tailoring business.

Today, this young mother runs a successful business in her community. She is a respected tailor and earns enough to supplement the family income and ensure that her children have a better life.  There are many young women like Pondiselvi who still need help and are just waiting for a chance similar to the one Pondiselvi got. Terre des Hommes works across the country to ensure these women and their children get a better life.