Meet Yellamma, a Woman on the Rise


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The Vicente Ferrer Foundation USA (VFF USA) is thrilled to announce the save-the date for our annual gala, “Recipe for Empowerment” as October 6th, 2017.
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Due to the lack of plumbing, Yellamma contracted poliomyelitis when she was five. The polio left her with reduced mobility in one leg. Yellamma could not complete her primary education because she was forced to look after her nieces and nephews from a very young age. This, together with the social stigma of her disability, meant that she was confined to the house.
Three years after Yellamma got married, her husband returned her to her family, saying she could not work due to her disability. When her brother and two sisters got married and moved to other villages, Yellamma stayed with her mother and now takes care of her. 
Despite these odds, Yellamma has managed to find a way to thrive — with a little help from the Vicente Ferrer Foundation. Today, Yellamma works at home making products out of jute for VFF’s handicraft workshops. Having a paying job not only guarantees her independence and access to funds, it also gives her social standing and respect within her community, and improves her own self-esteem. Learning these kinds of trade skills are necessarry if women are to gain greater independence in India.
Yellamma also heads the “sangam” in Yarrayapalli to support people with disabilities. Sangams are mutual aid associations that bring members together to find ways to enforce their rights and gain individual and collective empowerment. Yellamma also works to make disabled people in neighboring towns more aware of their potential.