An Indian woman in New York, battling breast cancer and neck-deep in debt after her husband’s death, got a new lease of life after a fundraiser to help her surpassed its goal of $1,30,000 in just three days. The woman had opened up about her struggle and loss during an interview with ‘Humans of New York’.
Saroj and Goyal were married for more than 40 years. However, after Goyal died two years ago, the clothing store they ran together was left in debt.
Saroj says she has hardly dressed up after her husband’s death. “I put on a sari for this interview and some lipstick. But it’s the first time in a long time,” she told Brandon Stanton, the man behind Humans of New York. “Because there’s nobody asking me to dress up anymore,” she says.
“He always wanted me to dress like a queen. Whenever we went to a party, he’d say: ‘Put on your nicest sari. Or a little more jewelry’ And I’d tell him, ‘Oh Goyal, please shut up’,” she recalled.
After his death, Saroj was left in both emotional and financial turbulence. She had no experience in handling a business alone.
The store, which sells handmade Indian clothing and fabrics, had to be shut down amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“And when we opened our doors again, there was nobody: no cars, no nothing. I owe so much money now,” she said.
Even since Saroj’s story was published on social media, help has been coming in abundance for Saroj. Stanton’s fundraiser for Saroj has raised over $4,92,000 in donations, surpassing its goal of $1,30,000. “The $130,000 from this fundraiser will not only eliminate Saroj’s debt, but it will also subsidize the rent of low-income New Yorkers,” wrote Stanton.
Additional funds will also directly go to Saroj.
Documentary film director Nicolas Heller recorded Saroj’s reaction when the fundraiser hit $25,000 after only a few minutes of being posted online. “I didn’t realize Nico was filming. But it made me smile when he sent me the video. Especially when I noticed Durga Maa dangling from a chain around Saroj’s neck,” Stanton wrote.