“ 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.
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National Coordinator; Project Coordinator