21 Jan 2016

My Leadership Journey - Sabita

Sabita is a Core Team Member
of YRC Swapno
Youth Fellow 2012-13
I live in the Namkhana island of the Sundarbans. Here most of the people are farmers or fishermen, and this society does not value women though they work as hard as the men.

Through my childhood my mother was overworked and never had time for me. I felt ignored. My father would beat her very badly and make her cry. At one time my mother was upset and she left me. I felt very angry and thought that perhaps my mother did not love me.

I withdrew from everything and everyone. My elder brother was also never willing to let me or my sister go out anywhere.

At this time, my 15-year-old elder sister was married off. But she was unhappy. Her husband and in-laws were violent with her and she silently bore it. This made me cry and think that no one stays happy after getting married. So I decided to study a lot, grow up to be a respected person, and never to get married. When I was about to appear for my Madhyamik, my parents decided to get me married. I tried to hide but the boy’s family approved the match based on a photograph. My sister’s marriage had already broken up and using her example I convinced my parents that I did not want to marry now.

Sometime after this, I heard about a youth group called Swapno. I learned that the group members were trained by Thoughtshop Foundation (TF) in Kolkata. I informed my family that I wanted to go to Kolkata. At that time no one objected and so I went and really enjoyed myself.

I joined Swapno and became an active member. One day I found the group sharing stories about their mothers. I gathered the courage to share my innermost feelings - my resentment and conflicts with my mother. I was also able to recall good memories with her. Within the group I found a space to share my sorrows and joys and look at things from a new perspective.