One of the most common questions asked to me is: What does the name Ruas mean? I can completely understand the curiosity. It is such a different name and quite unlike the usual names for organizations in the Social Impact sector. I have answered it several times and have some quick practiced sentences I say every time. However, to be honest it is a tough question to answer. Why? Because it is deeply personal.
When I started working on the idea of running a company for empowering women artisans, I wanted the name to mean something. Today I want to share the story behind the why...
When I was around 8 years old, my mother got pregnant. What we expected was a lot of joy and good times but it wasn’t necessarily the case. My mother got really sick and had low chances of survival.
At this time, many people came over to me and made comments such as, “Oh, are your parents trying for a son?” I remember their faces very clearly, the tones they spoke in and how they made it sound almost like a joke. But it was no joke to me and I remember each hurtful comment.
Another side of the conversation was people suggesting my mother must not have another kid because it could end up being another girl! God forbid, my parents for having two already!
It is beyond my understanding as to why people would say hurtful things to a child. These comments were deeply scarring and changed me forever.
I saw my mother struggle for the life of her unborn child and her own life too. I saw my father run around all day taking care of my mother, his daughters, and his work. Not surprisingly, my youngest sister was a fighter since the day she was born (prematurely). It was as if her soul knew it wasn’t easy for her to be a part of this world, so better fight to find her place. A perfect kid, she has excelled in school and is studying to be a Scientist someday soon.
I have no hard feelings towards the people who hurt me and my family. Because that phase of my life made me confirm my desire to work towards helping women when I would grow up and more importantly it made me realize how powerful love really is!
Despite our problems, it was okay because we managed to have fun despite the odds. We lived in Dehradun and it was the winters so my father would pack us up in bright jackets and our monkey caps. His childhood friend Sanjeev whom we endearingly call Sanjeev chacha would often come by in his van to visit us in the hospital. My father and his friends would sit around the van passing around the food, playing music and chatting. My sister Rupali and I would jump in the van and dance for hours. I also made friends with all the patients at the hospital. I saw what all the women were going through and became quite good friends with them too.
"So, this why I named the organization as Ruas after my sisters- Rupali and Asmita." I believe change starts from our very own homes. The name Ruas also stands for Rural Artisans.
But at the heart of it, the name Ruas to me stands for, "the neglected ones- the countless unborn women and the countless living ones who struggle without a voice or support."
Aditi Dubey Lee