We've joined up with four HERproject brands as part of a campaign to promote and accelerate leadership for and by women. As part of this, we asked Sapna, a HERfinance Peer Educator at a factory in Agra, India, for her experiences of and views on this topic.
Where are you from? Can you tell us a bit about your family?
I live and work in Agra, India, and I’m from a large family – we are 11 in total. I was a “straight A” student at school but my family was really struggling financially, so I had to drop out to support them.
For a long time I was the sole breadwinner of my family, and I was responsible for the overall well-being of everyone at home. For reasons we never discovered, one of my brothers fell ill and suffered a paralytic stroke. He was bedridden for months. My mother was also unwell and eventually passed away, which happened just after my engagement.
Because of this series of sad events, culminating in my mother’s death, the groom’s family decided that I was a bad omen and called off our engagement. These were really bitter, tough experiences for me. But they only strengthened my determination to succeed in life.
Why did you decide to become a peer educator with HERproject?
I didn’t know what the HERfinance program was, but when I heard about it I was curious. So, I took part in the trainings at the factory and they helped me to regain the confidence I had lost. I realized that, along with education, financial planning is critical for our generation. The trainings made me decide to spend wisely and save so that my future is secure, which I wish I had known more about when I was younger.
What positive impacts have you seen from your leadership?
After I attended the training sessions I considered my own experiences and I discussed the situation with my brother. We both decided to save money for future. Now I’m teaching the importance of financial planning to my other siblings and to community members. I want to make sure that everyone is able to spend money wisely.
My brother has now recovered from his illness. He recently started a new job and is looking forward to a bright future. For myself, I’m pursuing higher education again and I’m hoping to graduate.
Participating in HERfinance as a peer educator made me realize that every effort counts and leads to big results. I think it’s a lack of awareness and confidence that prevents more women from becoming leaders. We need to spread awareness and motivate women by showing them what is possible.