"Thousands of women today call me 'amma' (mother). It reflects their love and trust in me. This is the greatest honor for me."
"Humility, combined with an iron will to uplift the downtrodden. It is this unique combination that makes Jayamma the inspiring woman that she is." (Stella Paul)
Since 2001, Jayamma Bandari is living in Secunderabad and is managing our organisation, Chaithanya Mahila Mandali (CMM). She is helping women who suffer the same fate she managed break out of.
Jayamma - An Orphan
Jayamma lost her parents at the age of 3 and grew up at her grandparents' house, in a remote village at Nalgonda District, Andhra Pradesh, until the age of 17.
At the young age of 14 she lost her grandparents and her former life came to an end.
Jayamma had to live under the care of her maternal uncle, who forced her to stop going to school and to work to make money for the family instead.
Her uncle looked after a bridegroom for Jayamma. As he could not pay for another marriage, he forced a man who was already married and had children to marry her. In the end, Jayamma did not have to marry this man, but also the pressurisation of her uncle did not stop.
Jayamma - Mother and Wife
One day, Jayamma had to go to her cousin's wedding in Yadagirigutta. There she met a man and fell in love with him. Later he convinced her to marry him and both left their families to marry at the Yadagirigutta Temple in 1995.
Afterwards Jayamma started to live in her sister's house. Her husband continued living in Hyderabad but frequently visited Jayamma at the village in Nalgonda District.
In the course of time, Jayamma got pregnant and gave birth to a girl. Therefore both decided to live together. They moved to Hyderabad, rented a house in Uppal and lived as a happy family.
Jayammas husband got addicted to alcohol and spent most of the family's money on alcohol. She was unable to bear the situation.
Moreover, her husband started torturing her to bring money for him and introduced her to one of the brokers so that she and forcibly entered sex work. She was confused and did not know what to do and where to go. She even wanted to end her life but could not leave her innocent daughter behind.
Jayamma made money, but she had no peace and her heart broke. Whenever she met a man, she thought about the unfortunate lifes and compared herself with privileged women. She got addicted to alcohol to forget the pain and agony in which she continued her journey.
She had no knowledge about HIV and AIDS, about other sexually transmitted infections or about the usage of condoms.
Jayamma - A Social Reformer
Jayamma experienced hardship, so she was able to understand other women’s issues and their reasons. Beeing kidnapped, procured illegally, repeatedly raped, beaten–up, sold, bought, wrongfully confined, mentally and physically harassed, subjected to unnatural offences, tortured and injured by clients, husbands and policemen – Jayamma begun to bring these women together, created a network and started to fight. Unfortunately, she could not fight it in public because these women operated with the high network of Gundas and rowdisheats.
Jayamma and the NGO
Mr Jaya Singh Thomas, a NGO executive from the "IRDS" in Hyderabad, took part at a HIV/AIDS prevention project for women in sex work and came into contact with Jayamma. After having noticed her leadership qualities and her thirst to restore the dignity and quality of women, he proposed her to join his team so that the NGO would facilitate her ideas to be implemented. At first she rejected the move because she did not know whether it would work or not. But the NGO did not stop trying to reach her until she was convinced.
Jayamma - First Woman in Sex Work to Pursue a Dignified Job
Jayamma had been asked by the NGO to take up as a Coordinator Position in the year 1999. The NGO was the first of its kind in Andhra Pradesh which adopted a community member in its project. Jayamma's life turned bright and she longed for the day when all these women would come together to fight against the human made disaster for the female community.
The NGO supported her idea of reforming the situation of the sex workers' community. They suceeded with various strategies in uniting all women under one identity and got registered as Chaithanya Mahila Mandali (CMM) by Andrapradesh Telangana Area Public Societies Registration Act in the year 2001.
Jayamma - Mother of Many and of CMM
Jayamma took over as the president of the association. She started to publish various issues of this particular community. She formed private and governmental partnerships.
Since Chaithanya Mahila Mandali had been established, Jayamma has become the mother of many people. She was accessible all the time and she had to deal with many difficult circumstances; Starting from police raids, issues with public in general, rented house owners, other women associations, clients, court cases or issues between community women and Pipms, brokers, Gundas. But having seen the positive impact many women begun to take memberships and started benefiting.
An impressive article about Jayamma, published in the "World pulse":
Recognitions and Awards Received: