When I grow up, I want to be like Bharoti.
A woman of strength, tenacity, and deep love.
We are kindred spirits of sorts, and partners in advocacy to say the least.
Bharoti advocates for her family. When her son swallowed acid to end his life, she was the one who nursed him back to health. Her persistence and faith stir a fight in her that pours over onto all those she serves and stands beside. Especially me.
Bharoti does a variety of jobs around our Sari Bari offices. She sews patches on blankets, stitching up holes and restoring our Sari Blankets to full beauty. She has an eye for what needs fixed…
Last year, when one of our women was attacked by her boyfriend, Bharoti spent the following days, in difficult travel between police stations and hospitals, carrying documents and forms…fervently making the way for justice. She has a heart for setting things right…
Bharoti advocates with us in all things medical. And without her by our side, we would have drowned in government hospital red tape or our own frustrations long ago. She cannot read or write, but she soaks up information like a sponge. She is a lifelong student, and nearing fifty her next goal is to learn to read in her mother tongue, Bangla.
She has made many visits alongside her co-workers for their HIV treatments, wiping away their tears, reminding them that they still have hope, that they are not alone. In this culture, where the stigma against people living with HIV is so strong, even hateful, she is revolutionary.
One of our most beloved sisters passed away of HIV related illnesses in March and Bharoti was by her side. Even after hear death, Bharoti was the one helping to plan the cremation ceremony, making sure everything was in its rightful place. She is a woman that does not allow obstacles to overcome. She is a woman with her story of suffering, but she does not allow it to have the final word.
Bharoti is one of our heroes. She reminds us that none of us are alone in this fight for Freedom. She resists the notion that goodness will not win, and her example invites us all into the fight beside her.
Reflection by Beth Waterman.