Meet Pradnya Vidygar, a 28 year old Assistant Teacher in one of the Preschool Education Centres of Mumbai Smiles Foundation. Originally from Beed, a small district in the central region of Maharashtra, Pradnya shifted to Ghatkopar, a central area of Mumbai suburbs after marriage in search of better livelihood and has been residing here now for the past 8 years with her family of 7 – her husband, 3 children, and husband’s parents.
An energetic and dynamic individual, Pradnya was good in studies and completed her education till the second year of graduation. However, soon after she got married and had to then discontinue her studies due to family responsibilities. And although she was keen on working for a job, in order to help her family improve their economic status, her family – husband and in laws weren’t in favour of the same. But after a while there was a door of opportunity opened for her.
Pradnya came to know about us, Mumbai Smiles Foundation and our Preschool Education project thorough her sister in law, who works at as an assistant teacher in one of the centres and with an opening in another centre in her residential area apt for her, she immediately applied and soon joined our organisation as an assistant teacher too. However after 5-6 months of joining, her family started opposing her continuation to work again and consistently started harassing her to quit her job. Following months of long quarrels in the family and even some domestic violence on occasions too, she soon gave-in to their demands to save her marriage and bring peace back in her life and put down her resignation papers.
However, she was able to turn the situation around for herself very soon. After talking to her family over and over again and trying to make them see the benefits of a working woman, including financial stability, better house income and better social status too, her family understood her stance and is now happy with her decision to continue her job.
Pradnya took back her resignation letter and has now been working with us for two years.
Talking to us, she says, “My day starts with completion of housework – cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, preparing children to go to school – before heading to work at the preschool centre. Post my job, I come back home and after completing the household chores, I study. I have to say that coming to Mumbai Smiles was one of the best decisions of my life. I am not only financially independent now; I am also able to continue my education now to complete my graduation. I have received a lot of encouragement from all the team members here! We are also getting a very good response from my community for the good work that is being done by this organisation!” she exclaims happily.
Pradnya has definitely made her life much better. All she needed was a little push and we are glad that we were that mode of push for her. Continuing on the path of our vision and mission of seeing a poverty-free Mumbai, we hope to be such modes of push for many more, till no one needs us anymore. As our Founder, Jaume Sanllorente often says, “Mumbai Smiles Foundation will be truly successful the day we have to shut down because no one will need us to work with them anymore.”