Susheela,31, lives in New Delhi, India. When she got pregnant with her second daughter, her husband's family put pressure on her to have an abortion.
"When I got pregnant for the second time, at the third month I had an ultrasound scan to check the baby's health. During the check-up the doctor told me that it was a girl. My mother-in-law decided I had to have an abortion. They took me to a clinic, but once I got there, I asked to go to the bathroom and I felt the baby move for the first time. I felt so angry at myself for giving in to the requests of my husband's family that I stayed in the bathroom for 45 minutes! I didn’t know what to do, but I certainly no longer wanted to abort. While my relatives tried to get into the bathroom, I was there alone, crying and praying. My mother-in-law was shouting through the door that I had to do it. Then, one of the nurses helped me call my mother, who came and took me away".
"I gave birth to the baby girl at my family's home. My sister called my mother-in-law to give her the news and told her: "Congratulations, you have another granddaughter. "My mother-in-law hung up the phone without saying a word.
So, we bluffed: we decided to tell them that I had given birth to a boy. My husband immediately came to visit me, but when he saw that she was a girl, he screamed at me and left me. I never saw him again and I never had any support from his family. I was left alone and without any way of surviving. However, thanks to ActionAid, I had the opportunity to take part in a tailoring course and now I’m economically independent and I can live peacefully with my two beautiful little girls!".
In India, we work to ensure that women’s rights are respected. We fight so that they can get paid jobs. We foster the creation of tailoring, sewing, fabric-making and handicraft micro-enterprises, to make them economically and socially autonomous. We help them with paperwork in order to obtain a home or land for cultivation. We encourage families to let their girls study, too, in order to avoid marriages at an early age.