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Bindi Bottoms
Ghazala Siddique Designer Skilled Artisans, Saharanpur

"The story of my friend Ghazala Siddiqui is meant for any woman who has fought the battles of life, felt lost, and won eventually. Ghazala found her own courage through these battles and has ultimately been successful.

Ghazala came from an orthodox Muslim family and was the only daughter amongst five children. At the age of 19, she was married. As soon as she stepped into her sasural, whatever money and jewellery her father had given her as meher was taken away. It became very common for her to face physical abuse for the smallest infraction.

After she gave birth to a son, she kept hoping that her circumstances would improve. But she was wrong. She lost her second child due to a miscarriage caused by her husband’s beatings. Nevertheless, she persisted and stayed. When, at the age of 26, her third child turned out to be a daughter, she knew it was time to leave.

When her daughter was fifteen-days old, Ghazala left her husband without any fanfare and returned to her parents’ home. To earn a living, she started doing kasheedakari (embroidery). This wasn’t an easy business to run. People wouldn’t pay for their orders; those who did wouldn’t pay the full amount. As if this weren’t enough, fate dealt her another blow. One of her helpers stole all the money, including the income from her business, and ran away. Her brothers slowly drifted away and their father’s care fell solely on her shoulders.

This series of misfortunes did not break Ghazala’s spirit. She resurrected her lost dreams and stood strong in the face of all these events. Slowly, she gained a reputation for finishing her work before the deadline without compromising on quality. Her hard work finally paid off. For the last six years, she has been the exclusive designer for a European fashion brand. Her clothes are now exported to various countries; she owns a factory where she employs 20 craftsmen. She owns a car and sends her children to a prestigious school. She also takes care of her father.

Ghazala has learnt to face the trials that life throws at her. More importantly, she has learnt how not to despair, to hold on to her dreams and to be stalwart."


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