My name is Malika and I am 36 years old. I worked at a sports ball factory as a soccer ball varnisher. [Read more about ILRF's Foulball Campaign]I had been working there for 5 years and was feeling pleasures working with honesty and hard work. However, I didn’t know that the owner of the factory changed women’s work to a contract basis instead of a monthly salary basis. Myself and three other women workers argued that we would not work on contract basis. At that time my salary was 4000 Rupees (50 USD) a month. As a result of refusing to work on a contract basis, the owner of the factory fired me along with three other female workers and didn’t pay us any dues. Through the labor court, we got all our dues from the owner of the factory. However, we were still unemployed.
Then what started was a very difficult period for my family. Only my husband was employed so the income of the family was reduced. Before, we got free health services and medicine from social security but now we have to purchase expensive medicine from the market. The most difficult period started when I became ill. When I went for a checkup at a private hospital, it was found that I had an infection in my womb that had to be operated on. We collected our life savings and assets and sold all of it for the operation. I also borrowed money from my relatives. The private hospital looted me and all of my money spent on the treatment. After the operation, the doctor suggested that I don’t do any kind of hard work for a year. I listened to the doctor’s advice. However, my husband’s salary is spent solely on food and we can’t save a single penny for our future.
My conditions went from bad to worse. My daughter finished high school and insisted that she take the entrance exam for college, as she wanted to study further. My husband and I explained to our daughter that we were not in that position to bear her study expenses. Then she threatened that she would commit suicide if she could not go to college. My husband and I were scared and said that we would do anything to put her through college. I went to another relative and took 5000 Rupees (62 USD) as credit for the admission of my daughter into college. Now my daughter is studying in college. To add to the hardship, my husband has a breathing problem so at times he is unable to go to work, meaning the both of us are not bringing in any income. During these times our living condition becomes worse. I do not know what to do or how I am going to pay back the loan.
Sometimes I think that if the factory owner would have not fired me from my job, I might not be in this situation. If I were working in the factory, all of my treatment would be free and I would not be forced to sell my house hold goods. I would also get a monthly salary and our living conditions might be better and then I would not have to take out credit.