Each of the women that works at Tabby’s has a rich and incredible story. The videos and text below provide a snapshot of these women’s lives, revealing the conflict they’ve overcome and the relationships that have saved them in their search for stability and hope.
A couple years ago, Yellamma had two sons under two years old. Both died suddenly. She learned that her sons had been infected with HIV, and that she and her husband also had the devastating virus. Yellamma lost her husband to AIDS shortly after burying her two sons.
When her family learned that Yellamma was infected with HIV, they rejected her, kicked her out of her house, and banished her from the village. Since she had no marketable skills and was functionally illiterate, she had no means to provide for herself. Yellamma was completely alone.
In the area of India where Yellamma lives, HIV is misunderstood and desperately feared. Further, it is popularly believed that HIV is caused by sins committed in another life, so victims must endure their punishment without outside help in hope of a better future life. This leaves many people with HIV to fend for themselves without support from friends or family.
Yellamma began working the fields, toiling to earn less than ten dollars a week, but persevering to scrape together a living. One day, she came back from work to discover her house had been burned down. The cause was unknown, but the message was clear: she was not welcome in this village.
Then Yellamma heard about Tabby’s. Desperate for relief, she finally found acceptance and hope. She could earn a stable income, learn skills for her future in a safe work environment, and participate in a loving and accepting community.
At Tabby’s, Yellamma earns an income far above the minimum wage. But more importantly, she has found community. She’s found love, compassion and acceptance among women who have faced similar difficulties. When asked about her situation now, Yellamma says, “I am very happy.”