Sitamma asked us if we really wanted to listen to her story, since it was a tragedy. When we assured her we would , she began. “I was affected by leprosy. I saw the white patches and went to the doctor for a checkup, that’s when I discovered it. Later, I was totally rejected by society. I was not allowed to go to school, people would never speak to me and I was not allowed to use public buses. Conductors and drivers would make me get off the bus. I have walked long distances for many treatments. No one would rent out a house to my family. I got 7 years of treatment in a hospital where even though my hands were tied, the director himself fed me sometimes. Even after I was cured I was not allowed to attend any public functions, or any training classes. I joined an organisation which treated me equally and understood me. They trained me, and I learnt stitching here. I started my work earning Rs 2 per day and today I am earning Rs 5600 per month. I work here making dolls, stitching, and also designing new products. I have worked here for 36 years and I will retire in the next two months. I am not married and I have no idea what I am going to do after this. I still want to work till my last breath. I have designed something new today” and she happily showed us her new designs.
Sitamma is one of our GiftAbled artists and the creator of soft toys.