“ I am not the only one . . .”
(A Real time story) :
“I am Bishnu Dapa, 12 years old and am studying in class VI in a higher secondary school in Assam, the North eastern state of India. Till last year our family of 5 members (parents and 3 siblings) were living in the midst of poverty, struggle and day to day living. My sickly mother was the only earning member. With an alcoholic father, who takes away the money from my sickly mother who was a domestic worker with determination to educate all three of us? All of a sudden in the month of October she suddenly fell ill and could not get up to go to work. Being the eldest child the burden of earning for the family fell on me. I used to get up early and go to work in the nearby houses where my mother was working and then go to school. Coming back from school, do the work at home and the houses. This was my routine life till my mother died of her ailment in November 2013.
Now I have to do all the work at home for my father, younger sister (8 Years) and brother (6 years).
Coming back from school till mid night will be working in the neighbour’s house to earn our living.
Now comes a turning point in my life. The mental and physical torture by my father was unbearable. Using the force my own father started to abuse me. For the sake of my education, and my younger ones I was living with the traumatic life. I started losing concentration on my studies.
My father started bringing home his friends to have drinks and they attempted to rape me. I ran for life to escape from home, my father chased me and broke my hand with a wooden log. My neighbours in the village came for my protection and treatment. But I could not share my mental torture and trauma. After two weeks at the school, the principal noticed the bandage in the hand, calling me to her office, started asking various questions and made me open up. Busted in tears, I told her my entire story. She then counselled me and referred my case to NDWM’s Assam office. The coordinator of the organisation took me with her and kept me for two weeks with them in their home. With the constant counselling and their mental, moral support I gained confidence and started going to school.”
Our staff then met the child’s father and made him realise the damage he has done to his own daughter and how he went up to traffic his own child for the sake of drinks. After various one to one sessions he confessed and accepted his crime in front of the principal. Our staff then arranged for a group session with the victim child, her father, principal and the local village head and the family is united. Our coordinator monitors the developments in the family weekly and financially supports the children’s education.
“I am Bishnu speaking, though the wound and scars are deep, being a young teenage girl, the coordinator or their staff spend some time with me every alternative day, their love and concern which gives me courage and also the changes in my father who goes to work and earns for the family makes me live a meaning full life. In future I want to be a social worker to bring social changes.
In our area, I am not an only victim, there are many more like me. Fortunately I was referred to National Domestic Workers Welfare Trust. This change is possible only on account of your single dollar you all donate for the cause. Your contributions have saved my life far away in the Indian subcontinent.
In tears I ask of you is not to sympathise and help for the cause, but empathise and walk hand holding with such organisation.”
N.B. Name changed to maintain confidentiality.
Am I a commodity?
"I, Sunandha (17 years) was born in a remote village along the Western Ghats of Sindhudurg District, Southern part of Maharashtra State in India.
Looking for livelihood my parents migrated. Thus as a toddler, I have landed in then, Bombay.
Being a domestic worker my mother took me along with her to her work places. As a helping hand to my mother, I started my learning age as domestic worker instead of attending school. Learned the domestic work as an assistant to my mother, having gained confidence to the works of own started as a live-in domestic worker at the age of 12.
Being a girl child and as we did not have a proper place to live, my mother placed me in Mr.Munde’s house as a live-in Child Domestic worker. My job was to keep the house clean and take care of cleaning the vessels and washing the three children’s cloth. Along with the five of the family members, I was living as a sixth member. Though the work load was heavy and sleeping on the kitchen floor with a mat and pillow, the employers did not ill treat me. Being a child at times I could not coup-up with the work load and wept in silence for the fear of losing my safety and living. I was allowed to meet my family members once in a while. As a child I had been carrying school bags not of mine but of my employer’s children. My body was paining carrying the children’s school bags, my mind and heart was getting focused towards schooling some day or other. After working in the same household for two years, my focussed urge to attend school bust out on one day as tears. When my master asked the reason for my cry, out poured my dream of learning. With their permission I joined the non formal school. Having picked up my studies in two years time I applied for my metric examination.
On account of my preparation and examination I was forced to leave my job. While attending my classes now and then I used to attend various trainings on child rights, Child domestic workers’ empowerment programmes conducted by National Domestic Workers’ Welfare Trust (NDWWT)and the Children’s Coordinator used to visit us at our places. As a seventeen year old girl waiting for my metric examination result, started hunting for job as domestic worker. After few months of struggle, found a place with Ms.Mona, who is a party caterer.
We were seven girls working for her. After four months work in Mumbai, Ms. Mona told us that there are some work orders from other states with better package. With a hope of earning more I and another girl of my age left for Ranchi, Jharkhand State along with madam. After working at the new environment for two months, we were not paid for our work. Whenever we asked madam for money to send home or pocket expenses, the reply always used to be “the party has not paid any money yet”. Wanting to escape from her bondage we both girls asked her to send us to Mumbai. In a couple of days she took us to Ajmir, Rajasthan. At Ajmir madam took to a house out of the town and told me to be with this people for a week till she comes back after collecting money to go home. She never turned back.
At this new place I was being tortured mentally and physically. With no rest and work for almost 18 hours harassment, remembered my trainings with the National Domestic Workers’ Welfare Trust on trafficking. One day I overheard the house owner speaking to his friend that he has purchased me from Ms.Mona for Rs.130, 000/- for trafficking. On hearing this, with full courage remembering the various empowerment programmes of NDWWT,escaped from the house in the middle of the night and ran to the Railway police station at Ajmir railway station. The inspector of police on hearing my episode asked for my parents contact number. From the station I called my parents and asked them to come to take me home.
In Mumbai, my mother contacted NDWWT office and with their help, filed a child missing complaint with Mumbai police and Children’s Welfare Commission”.
The Mumbai police along with the father of the child went and brought the girl from Ajmir. After counselling the child is helped to join college for her studies. This occurrence was in the month of December 2013.
Thus the training the child received, helped her to act prudently and timely before being send out for trafficking. By your generous contribution you through NDWWT are training and empowering the girl child domestic workers and rescue the trafficked ones and are helping them to restart their education and living inthe society.
This is not the only episode. We have various such cases from all our working states regularly.
TOGETHER WE CAN
Having lost her mother, who was a domestic worker, at the tender age, Rufina (name Changed) aged 12 years was staying in their native village in Assam with her alcoholic father and her younger brother. She was very stubborn that she continues her studies against the will of her father, who wants her to be a live-in domestic worker in some house. She was forced to do all the household works and also to take care of her younger brother by her father. She was under severe mental torture and traumatic experiences because of the ill-treatment and abuses received from her own father. Many a times she had been sexually harassed by other people too.
In such a situation the young girl did not have any other choice than run away and escape from her father. On the 21st, August the girl came to school with the broken hand and informed the Principal that she had been brutally beat and her hand twisted and broken by her own father. She also said that she does not want to go back home as it is not safe for her.
The Principal then informed our North Eastern Domestic Workers Moment for further intervention and follow up. The coordinator and the animator rushed to the school and the girl after her first aid medical care was taken to the moment’s office for further investigation and counselling. In the mean time the father of the child was summoned to the office.
After a serious of one to one and group counselling the father accepted his fault and gave the assurance to rectify his mistakes and to be a real loving and caring father to his children. With the intervention of the movement the child now convinced of his father’s changed attitude accepted to go with her father and continue her studies.
Our team members regularly follow up the family and support the children’s progress. This young girl is now saved and protected from being trafficked. Your contribution through Global Giving has saved and gave a meaning to Dipu’s life.
This is only a tip of an iceberg. We have various such cases and rescued trafficked young girls and children in our Transit Homes in North East, Jharkhand, Bihar, Karnataka and Maharashtra who are in the process of reintegration with their family or at the main stream of life with life support trainings. With your support and our outreach teams in eighteen states of India, we are constantly making “Care and Protection to Victims of Trafficking” a reality.
TOGETHER WE CAN.
We would like to share with you, how your support has rescued two girls from trafficking.
Laxmi and Pooja (names changed) , age, 12 and 8 years respectively, lived in a remote village of Gaya district in Bihar , India. They both belong to Musahar community, a most backward and neglected community in the social stratum. First, Laxmi was taken to Patna to work in Mr. Babu Prasad’s (name changed) house as live in domestic worker. After one and half years Pooja (8years) was taken to the same house as a child domestic worker. Both these girls were made to work the whole day without proper food and care. They were not allowed to meet their relatives, when they come to see these children. These young girls were not only had to do all mean jobs the whole day and also had been forcefully abused sexually and physically by Mr.Babu.
A part-time worker in the same house noticed this violence against these innocent children. Having confirmed the condition of the children, she informed our Bihar regional office at Patna. Having done our initial investigation, an official complaint was lodged at the Bihar Child Labor Department on this issue. With the intervention of the rescue raid team of Bihar Child Labour Department we rescued both the children from Mr.Babu’s house June 2013. The government authorities then kept the children in our custody for counseling and medical care at our transit shelter home. After a month’s care and compassionate treatment at our shelter home, in the month of July both these girls were reintegrated with their parents in the presence of the Registrar of Child Labor Department.The children were happy to be united with their parents.
With tears, the two girls expressed their gratitude.
Source : State Coordinator, Bihar, India.
A Domestic worker from India in Bahrain
Last April 2012, 22-year-old Bhavani, semi literate village women, landed in Bahrain from Andhra, with dreams stored; better life for her children. Prior to this, she never went out of her own region Andhra. Leaving her two daughters, aged 4 years and 5 months under her aged parents’ care, she went to Bahrain only to earn money, to repay the loans she taken for her elder daughter’s heart surgery.
Life in Dream Land: She was promised of a work in a shop, landing Bahrain, she was taken to a house for Domestic work. There she was abused, thrashed and was made to work for over 20 hours a day. In a year she was being shifted to three houses and her experience was similar in all the houses. “The house owners used to beat me and shout at me,” continues Bhavani, “When I complained to agent, I was beat again cruelly.” After working for four months, the only option she was left with was, escape from the house and she did that. Fortunately a Good Samaritan took her to Indian embassy. NDWM intervened in this case and worked with the family and the Indian Embassy with the help of other network NGOs. It took almost to six months to complete legal works, as all her documents were with the agent.
Bhavani, was able to come back to Hyderabad on 12th April 2013 with bitter memories and empty hands, but relieved, once again to build up her life with her children, from where she left.
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National Coordinator; Project Coordinator