Meet one of Work For Widows talented handbag and jewelry artisans, Renuka. Not long after the world’s worst natural disaster to date, a volunteer from Switzerland came across Renuka, living down by the river. Prior to the tsunami, she’d already been poor, but the wave took what little she had left. Homeless and destitute, she was forced to place two daughters in a state orphanage, in order to guarantee they had shelter and food.
Work For Widows secured Renuka housing, purchased furniture and a sewing machine for her and helped Renuka learn to sew. Within three months, she was earning an income sewing handbags and was then trained to make collection pieces of jewelry as well, soon Renuka was able to prove to the courts that she could support her children and she was able go to the orphanage to collect her daughters. “Other than the birth of my own daughters and grandson, I cannot think of a more miraculous day than when we went with Renuka to bring her daughters home,” says founder Pam Porodo. “It was dark when we finally arrived back and the girls were so excited to see their new home.
We offered to bring some food in for dinner, but Renuka smiled and told us that this was the day she had dreamed of, and she wanted to cook a meal for her children in their new home. We left with the smell of onions being chopped, and the sound of laughter, drifting out from the kitchen.” Now, through the beautiful bags and jewelry she makes, the joy that Renuka shared with her children that day can be shared with women all around the world.