by Sonja Kraft
Congratulations, you won the employee of the month award! How did you feel when you found out that you won?
I was nervous and happy at the same time. It made me realize, “Oh I am appreciated.” Before, I used to think, “When am I going to receive the employee of the month? Am I going to reach that point? There are all these people that have already reached there. When will be my chance?” That was the thing I used to think about. When I was announced as an employee of the month I felt like I’d achieved something.
We want to get to know you a little bit better. Can you tell us about your family?
To talk about my family, none of my family is educated, so it’s sad to me sometimes. My husband has never been to school. I was a little bit more privileged. That makes me really sad. I felt like to achieve something was really important for me. After I’ve come to Purnaa, I’ve achieved many things. Before, I used to work as a laborer and do heavy work. I never had a chance to wear good clothes. My life was not that good. But after being a part of Purnaa, I feel like I’m achieving something all the time. So the employee of the month award reminds me what my life was like before and how I am doing today. During the weekends I try to spend most of my time with my family. Before I used to spend a lot of time in the community going here and there, but now I don’t do that.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I had an arranged marriage and it was such a situation that I was married to a total stranger. I didn’t know him or what he was like or how he acts. I used to hear people say negative things about my husband. So that made me feel like oh, my husband does nothing, he is worthy of nothing. I never tried to respect him at the beginning of our marriage. Now after being at Purnaa and learning about giving quality time to someone as a way to show love, it made me realize that I need to give time to my husband. I need to listen to him to learn what he wants. He was not being respected, but now I think that I need to respect him. That made me realize that I need to spend time with him and find out, are you this type of person that the community is saying or different. That’s the communication we do during my free time. I am the one who has to understand my husband. This is why during my free time I go on walks around the botanical garden with my son and husband and try to listen to him and connect with him. I try to learn to give him more respect.
Those are the things I’ve been working on since being here at Purnaa.
Who is your role model and why?
I don’t have a particular person as a role model, but the person who has inspired me to be a good person and who has inspired me that I can do it is first of all Pawana. When I got married I moved to a village and I had to do labor work. But when Pawana came into my life she encouraged me. She said, “I work at an office called Purnaa, they employ women like you.” That inspired me a lot and I felt like I could do that in the future. I could better my life. That’s how I came to Purnaa. She’s the one who inspired me to take the job. Katrina and Mary also inspire me, they are here telling me that I can do it.
What is something fun or interesting you have done recently?
At Purnaa I am free, I dance and I enjoy life. Here I can be myself. This is where I have a lot of fun. I don’t have a particular time of something fun that I’ve done recently. I just remember how I feel at Purnaa and how much I enjoy it here.
When have you been most satisfied in your life?
The most satisfied moment of my life was when I was selected at Purnaa. I remember when I was in my training period, I used to think, “what if I’m not selected” and it made me nervous. I was scared that I would disappoint my mother-in-law and that I would let her down if I didn’t get the job. On the day when I was selected I was so happy.
What is your job at Purnaa?
I do sewing on Team Laliguras.
How long have you worked at Purnaa?
What did you do before you worked at Purnaa?
I used to work as a laborer, carrying heavy loads. I used to carry heavy bricks that were heavier than my weight.
What is different about Purnaa from other places you have worked?
If I start comparing Purnaa with other businesses, I feel like there is a drastic difference with the other businesses and with us. I have never seen someone with all the benefits I have right now, the health allowance, the school allowance, this is something that makes me feel like I’m being a good mother, someone who is taking care of my family. The food facilities that we are provided, it’s something extra from any other business. The most important difference though is here we don’t see the difference with the boss, we are equal, we are here working together. That is the main difference with Purnaa.
What keeps you coming to work?
Purnaa has given me skills. I can’t guarantee if Purnaa will be around forever or not, but the skills that Purnaa gives me, that helps me learn. So in the future I feel that I can take care of my son. Those are the things that inspire me to come work at Purnaa.
How have you changed as a person since working here?
If you ask what changes I have made as a person, it is uncountable. I have become a very different person. Since I started at Purnaa, I as a mother have changed, I am able to provide for what my son has desired. As a mother I have been able to provide a good education to my son. I used to think that if I’m not able to provide education, or health care to my son, then I have to go and seek somebody’s help to sponsor him. Now I feel confident that I have sent my son to school, a Christian school. It’s one of the good school’s in my area. The people in my community have seen how my life has transformed. I have received respect from those people. There are uncountable things. As a person I have changed and it’s all good ways.
What have you learned from working at Purnaa that you would like to pass on to others?
People often ask me, “Where do you work?” What I say is I work inside a company where they provide me a fulfilled life, where they provide me with skillful training. So I work in a garment manufacturer where they don’t just provide me work but they help me too. They are there to empower us. I feel confident in saying those things. Now people don’t ask me where do you work, they know where I work and they see how my life has changed.
If you had to convince a friend to apply for this job, what would you tell them?
The most important thing that I would say is that we have a good environment here. An environment where we are treated equally, where the boss and the employee sit down together; eat at the same table, that kind of place. We are a family. Most of the time I don’t feel like I’m at work, I feel like I’m learning. I show my family what I’ve learned here. I tell them these are the things that I’m learning. That’s what’s different about Purnaa, they give life-skills training, wellness training, literature training, different types of things. It’s not just work. It’s a different environment where people don’t feel like they are working, they are doing something for the society. On top of that, the company is doing so much training for our benefit. It’s a company that empowers. That’s how I tell people about Purnaa.
What dreams do you have for the future?
My personal dream is for my family, I am believer but I got married to an unbeliever. So my extended family doesn’t believe in Christ. My wish altogether is I want my husband and family to know Jesus. Another dream I have is I want to give a good education to my son. So in the future, where the community doesn’t respect my husband, they would know, this is his son. They would know it. They would respect my husband.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I wish and I pray a blessing towards Purnaa that it will grow more in the future and that this company would provide and would empower more people like me. I do believe it is not just me who needed this job, there are more people in Nepal who are in critical condition and who desperately need work, who desperately need rescue. I pray that Purnaa would grow in numbers so that it could help other women like me. Their life could change like my life has changed, people have been inspired by my life. I would love to keep inspiring people and that this company would keep inspiring more people.