This is a case that I followed closely and was amazed by God’s work in the child’s life. In order for us to trace the child’s biological mother our follow-up officers had to walk miles and climb a hill as there was no proper path for vehicles to travel in the village. The child’s story is told here in her point of view. As an organization we continue our follow-up on the child.
She would cry every night as Thathi hit her again and again. Thathi couldn’t see well. Maybe Thathi hit Ammi because he couldn’t see. I didn’t know and I couldn’t do anything as Ammi cried in pain.
When I woke up the next morning Ammi was gone and I thought that she would come back home but she never did.
After that day Achchi Amma looked after me. I missed Ammi but Achchi said this was how we would live and I was alright with that. Although I missed Ammi I was alright to stay with Achchi, but then Achchi died and I was alone again. I couldn’t stay with Thathi so the auntie at the Buddha’s temple took me to the temple. I was alright at the temple even though I missed Ammi and Achchi. There were kids who would play with me and I would go to their houses. I loved their beautiful houses and I was sad that they had Ammis but I didn’t. But that was okay, I could go to school and my duties were few and small.
One day one auntie from the temple took me to the police station. I was scared. I didn’t do anything wrong but the auntie told the uncle at the station that they can’t look after me and to send me somewhere else. I thought they would send me to Ammi and I was happy but I was sad too because I didn’t want to go to Thathi. I just wanted to stay happy and play.
The police uncle sent me to live with my Nanda. I thought I had a family at last, that I could be happy but I was so wrong. Nanda wouldn’t let me play with other children; she told me that she would hit me if I talked to them or played with them. I was forbidden to watch TV. Everyone at home including Nanda and her daughter would watch TV and I would sit alone in my room and hold my books and cry.
Every day before and after school Nanda will make me sweep the house and yard, wash dishes and clothes and cook. In the evening I would walk all alone to the fields to bring back Nanda’s two cows. I was so scared because I was alone but I was scared of Nanda. I didn’t have anybody. Ammi left me and Achchi left me and the aunties at the temple did not want me. I hated my life.
Nanda treated my very bad. She knew I had nowhere to go so she made a lot of rules for me. When going to school with Nanda in the bus I was not allowed to sit down unless Nanda gave me permission. I had no friends and no one to play with. I would cry every night.
I thought this was how the rest of my life would be when an auntie from ESCAPE visited me. I didn’t know what to say. She smiled at me and was so kind to me, but I was scared of her. She asked me if I was happy with Nanda and I knew I had to tell her something. I had to get her help to find Ammi. So I told the auntie everything and she listened. I cried and cried and cried because I was so sad and everybody was hurting me. I just wanted Ammi or Achchi.
The auntie told me she will help me find Ammi, but I didn’t know where Ammi was and Nanda wouldn’t tell that auntie anything about Ammi. I hated Nanda but then I remembered the Mama who would come to our house. I told that auntie about Mama and she told me she will help find Ammi. I was happy I could finally find Ammi.
Sometime later the auntie from ESCAPE took me to an office. She said that it was the probation office and the people there will help me and then she said that she had found Ammi. I was so happy that finally Ammi was here to see me but I was scared too. What if Ammi didn’t like me? What if she didn’t want me? Will they send me back to Nanda?
The first time that I met Ammi I didn’t know what to do. Ammi saw me and walked to me. She looked so pretty and happy and I knew I would not go live with Nanda again. I did not go to live with Ammi like I thought I would. The people at the probation office and the auntie from ESCAPE explained to me that Ammi was married and had two kids and so I would have to live with Ammi’s Ammi.
Now I’m thirteen years old and am happy and live with Achchi Amma. I go to school but the happiest days are when Ammi visits me with lots of gifts. I love my Ammi and I thank that auntie who came to see me that day. Thank you auntie for bringing happiness into my life!”
— Nevedita Jeevabalan, LEADS, AsiaCMS Co-Mission Partner