written 3/7/24 by Shanna Homandberg, Vi Bella Director of Sales

Lydia, 37, has been a seamstress with Vi Bella since 2017 and is a trusted leader on our team. She frequently has a big smile on her face, whether she’s at her sewing machine or chatting with coworkers. She loves making jokes with other employees and has even learned sign language in order to communicate with our deaf artisans. When asked how she remains so joyful, she explains, “The joy I feel stems from recalling a period when, despite registering my children for school on three separate occasions, I was unable to afford their tuition fees which prevented their attendance. However, securing my job with Vi Bella marked a significant turning point. I am now capable of providing for my children and myself independently. This transformation is one of the key reasons I approach my duties with enthusiasm and actively encourage and motivate new employees.”

Vi Bella artisan Lydia and daughter

She was trapped under rubble during the earthquake of 2010, which left extensive damage to her knee and necessitated her ongoing use of crutches.  But, that is not the only hardship she’s had to face; Lydia found herself in an abusive relationship and feared for the safety of herself and her three children. Her husband was opposed to her getting a job, but was unable to make enough to care for his family’s basic needs. When Lydia explained to him that she had accepted a job offer to help with the finances, the news was met with hostility and abuse. With “willpower, the Grace of God, and the support of Vi Bella” she was able to get herself and her children out of that situation. Lydia shares, “Despite these obstacles, I embraced the challenges as opportunities to advance in life. It is through my career that I gained the opportunity to achieve independence. Work has indeed been a tremendous blessing, serving as the cornerstone of my strength.” 

On International Women's Day, Lydia's story serves as a reminder of the challenges many women face worldwide and the incredible resilience they display in overcoming them. It underscores the importance of providing opportunities for women to achieve independence and the transformative impact of supportive communities and workplaces in facilitating their success. Lydia's journey from adversity to empowerment embodies the essence of the day—celebrating the strength, resilience, and achievements of women everywhere.