Note: The following story could be a trigger for survivors of child abuse.

For several years after her mother’s death, Samita and her father were doing well. They tackled life together. He provided food, shelter, and stability. She provided lots of laughter and joy. But then something changed. Income disappeared when the pandemic hit India hard. He couldn’t find work and in despair, he turned to alcohol. He sent Samita to work in the nearby fields, suspending her 5th grade education and stunting her future. This is child labor with a face.

In the fields, Samita was molested by another worker.

That’s hard to hear, isn’t it? It’s hard to tell you about and harder still to know this happens. Samita became withdrawn and stopped speaking.

I am thankful to be able to tell you that this is not the end of Samita’s story. A light flickered in the soul of Samita’s dad. He sensed something wasn’t right with his daughter, so he sought the attention of one of DFN’s community health workers at our nearby clinic.  “Find out what’s going on and help her,” he cried. “This is not my daughter.” Samita trusted the health worker enough to share the horrors that haunted her. She moved into a shelter where she is safe and sound, healing from the trauma of abuse and abandonment.

Today, Samita no longer does field work. She’s back in school and thriving in her group home. She is a child rescued, reclaimed, and restored. Samita gets to see her father once a month. He is receiving food and humanitarian aid until he can work again. And, that same health worker is helping him address his dependence on alcohol.

 

Without generous people like you, there would be no clinics, no community health workers. There would be no rescue for girls like Samita. But with you, Samita is in school. She enjoys learning and loves playing with friends at recess and after school. With you, Samita’s family has enough to eat, her father never considers child labor out of desperation, and Samita is not abused.  She grows up. She thrives. Even in a pandemic.

Please consider the vital role you play in making sure every child grows up safe and sound. It’s more important than ever to give COVID Care Relief to keep the children of India safe. They’re counting on you.

Because every life is worth fighting for.