Gudiya was born and raised in a small village in Eastern India and lost her parents at a very young age. Gudiya’s grandmother looked after her following her parent’s death. Gudiya was married off to a much older man when she was 16. At her husband’s house, she faced domestic violence for many months and constantly feared for her life. One day, after a particularly bad episode, she decided to leave his house and find a job in the city to sustain herself.

After a three-day journey on a rickety train, Gudiya landed at a busy station at midnight. Gudiya sat on the platform in an unknown city, waiting for the sunrise and fell asleep. When she woke up, someone had stolen the bag with all her belongings. She was rescued by the police and handed over to local minor home where she stayed for about two years. When she turned 18, Gudiya learnt about Kherwadi Social Welfare Association, our local implementing partner, and reached out for support. There she learnt about our employability programme which is supported by the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) and funded by the United States Government. Gudiya learnt how our programme gives young people personal skills development and practical experience in a hotel and related places of work.

The determination to never give up and endless desire to learn kept Gudiya going through those difficult times and when she heard about Sustainable Hospitality Alliance’s employment programme, she saw hope and financial freedom. In June 2019, she enrolled in the Youth Employment Programme to develop her skills and make a career in the hospitality industry. Once she completed the English Speaking and Life Skill training, Gudiya was selected for an internship at a hotel. She learnt quickly and graduated in December 2019.

“The classroom learning was a good learning experience for me. Through the practical training, I got to understand how each department functions in a hotel. I learned to communicate with the guests, handling their grievances, serving the food, maintaining cleanliness and hygiene. I was able to overcome my fear of speaking out in public and creating a good impression.”

In February 2020, she found a job at a hotel but then pandemic jolted the hospitality industry, and she lost her job. The programme stood by Gudiya through this difficult time and gave her financial support so she could afford rent and focus solely on the job hunt. In June 2021, we liaised with another hotel to help her secure a job. Gudiya was over the moon when she was selected for the job in the housekeeping department and aspires to be an excellent room attendant in the future.

“This programme has made a huge difference in my life, as it has helped me to grow both, professionally and personally. I feel more positive and confident about myself. I am thankful for this new job in housekeeping which will give me work experience and financially support me especially during this pandemic.”

*Name changed to protect identity


This article was funded by a grant from the United States Department of State through the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS). The opinions, findings, and conclusions stated herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of State or GFEMS.