It’s not hard to figure out how families earn a living in rural Rajasthan. On the drive through India’s conservative north-east we pass marble quarry after marble quarry—
a sea of white, with brightly-coloured saris a perfect contrast to the landscape.
When we arrive at a local house, we’re welcomed through the front gate into a small compound with three small bedrooms, a tiny kitchen, and a shaded courtyard with a brilliant white marble floor. After a mat is laid out for us to sit on, the men are sent away. Only now, as they remove their scarves, do we see the faces of the two women we’re visiting: Santosh, an Opportunity loan recipient, and her sister in law, Sushila.
Santosh can’t read or write—with little money, her parents invested in her brothers’ education instead. She struggles to find the words to express her determination to give her daughters the education she has always longed for. When she’s lost for words, high-school educated Sushila jumps in. Articulate and savvy, the contrast in these women speaks volumes to the difference an education can make.
Santosh sees this contrast every day, and she knows exactly which path she wants for her own daughters. Unlike so many of the parents I’ve met, when I ask her what she dreams for her children, she doesn’t list top-paying occupations. Instead: choice. She wants to give her daughters the freedom and the confidence to choose what they want to be.
By securing a small loan from Opportunity to help grow the family marble business, forward-thinking Santosh is investing in her children’s futures. As the family’s income grows, she’ll have the means to make sure her girls finish high school. Santosh might lack words and the confidence to say them, but with her determination her children won’t have to.
Your support of Opportunity helps women like Santosh and Sushila—and their families—choose their own futures. With the help of a small loan, mothers have the opportunity to grow their own businesses, invest in their children’s education, and break the cycle of poverty for good.
To give a hand up to women like Santosh, donate here.