This is Kala. She was born to Dalit parents who are manual scavengers. They clean sewers by hand to earn a few rupees every day. As outcasts, her parents were desperate to earn favor with their god in hopes of improving their situation. So when villagers approached her parents about dedicating her to a life of ritualized prostitution, they agreed.
As a young girl, Kala woke up screaming nearly every night, unable to sleep and shaking with fear. Even as a little girl, something inside her knew she was headed into a horrible life of ritualized prostitution.
But that was before she came to live at the Pratigya Shelter Home for Girls.
A social worker from Good Shepherd’s Anti Trafficking Unit heard about Kala’s upcoming dedication and swung into action. She, along with several Freedom Fighters in the village, pleaded with Kala’s parents to put a stop to it. They did and agreed to send Kala to a place where she would be safe and sound and free to grow up.
Today, Kala lives in the Pratigya Shelter Home for Girls with 54 other girls and young women. Under the loving care of the house mother and teachers at a Good Shepherd School, girls blossom from frightened children into confident and engaging young women. They receive counseling and healthcare with the support of a dedicated staff. Young adult women who have missed the opportunity to go to school enter an economic empowerment program where they learn basic financial management and a skill to support themselves. Their dignity and freedom is restored as they embrace their worth and value as a human being.
Our current shelter houses 55 and the government has recognized it as the most outstanding shelter for survivors of trafficking in the state! But with around 100,000 women caught in this form of ritualized prostitution in India, we must do more. So we’re building a new facility that will house 150 girls and women vulnerable to or being rescued from sex trafficking.
As for Kala, she still has dreams. But now she dreams about becoming a teacher, getting married, and starting her own family.
You can help us finish the shelter. Every donation goes a long way to impact the life of a child. If you’d like to contribute please follow the link below.
Stories are real, all names and photos have been changed for protection, and are representative.