Meet Madhu Chaudhary
Married at age 22
Single Mother of 3
Madhu has been in Vrindavan for the past 15 years. She is originally from a nearby town called Vallabhad and came from a very well to-do family. She got married at the age of 22. A few years after her marriage, her husband developed a mental disorder and began beating Madhu and her children. To survive and save her children from the abuse, she left him. It was a very difficult step for her since her youngest baby was only 6 months old, and she herself suffers from heart and vision problems. In spite of it all, she took her three kids on the train by herself and brought them to Vrindavan to her mother-in-law. Her mother-in-law questioned her about how and why she had fled her home with her husband. When Madhu told her the truth, her mother-in-law went to see her son (Madhu's husband) to confirm the story and never returned.
Madhu was left to fend for herself and her own children; she began working in a nearby ashram (monastic community) cooking for the monks. This became her livelihood...how she earned money and got food for her kids. In 2007, she learned about the sewing center her daughter's school was starting. She applied, got the job, and soon began her training there. She worked in the ashram every morning and evening, and from 11-4 worked in the sewing center. When her guruji (spiritual teacher) at the ashram passed away, she could no longer work there, so she began working full time in the sewing center. Since then, her daughter Mitlesh (in white below) has been taking care of their home while Madhu works to earn money to support her family. Mitlesh wakes up early at 3:30 am to cook for the family, studies for two hours before heading to school, attends classes all day and again takes care of the household chores when she returns home. In the evenings, Madhu continues to work and sew, so she can earn enough to support her kids.
All three of Madhu's kids studied at Food for Life's Sandipani Muni school (where our sewing center is located). Her daughter graduated high school and is currently studying at a nearby university. Her two sons are still in high school; they love and appreciate their mother and sister very much and are very protective of Madhu and Mitlesh. Madhu continues to sew at the school, and has been promoted to the position of a manager. She really enjoys working there and feels a great deal of pride in her work. With her work, she feels she is doing something worthwhile. She loves making the Made With a Purpose bags and also training and overseeing the other ladies. Madhu has literally stitched her way out of poverty to build a better life for her and her kids, and continues to do so to this day. She works relentlessly and never complains about her life, no matter how many difficulties she is facing. She is an incredible woman, and we are so proud to have her on our team.