We entered the home of 30-year old Santosh, and were offered a mat on the ground to sit on. We got settled and the men left. And only then, did Santosh remove the scarf that was acting as a veil, and we saw her face.
One of eight children, Santosh never went to school. Her parents used what little money they had, to send her brothers instead. Santosh can’t read or write and she struggled to find the words to express why she’s so adamant her daughters won’t miss out on the opportunities she did. Despite the many traditions that hinder Santosh’s freedom, a small loan is bringing about vital change.
By securing this loan, Santosh has newfound respect from her family, and now she’s seen as forward-thinking and a part of the business. She was growing in confidence and as the family’s income grows, she’ll make sure her daughters get to stay in school.
With this loan, Santosh is now daring to dream for her children. I asked her, “What do you want for your own children?” She doesn’t list off top paying occupations like a doctor or an engineer or a lawyer. Instead, she simply says one word. “Choice.” She’s building a life where her daughters can choose to be what they want to be, and have the freedom and confidence to make it so.
This video is a selection from Opportunity International's Virtual Art Gallery: Portrait of a Waymaker. Explore the entire gallery here.