preeti
Reported by Abha

Preeti is a shy 12 years old girl who is from a village in Madhya Pradesh, India. This is one of the villages where people of the Banchara community live. This community is very rigid in its culture and rituals and it is said that they are unkind also. In her family Preeti was only surviving instead of living. She lived with her uncle and aunt. Preeti’s father died when she was 3 years old. He was a heavy alcoholic and drug addict. She lost her mother at age 8 to dengue fever due to lack of medical treatment. She has an elder sister who is 15 years old. Preeti believes her sister was secretly sold to a pimp from Mumbai. This way of life is typical in the whole belt of villages of Madhya Pradesh. There are girls younger then Preeti facing these same challenges in their everyday life. It is very common for parents and relatives to sell their own children or send them into the profession of prostitution. It is ritually sanctioned so the mindset of these families is to devote their girls to this profession. I was a struggling counselor equipped with my six month education module in Preeti’s village. My friend Mina; associated with a women’s welfare association, was with me and we had to be extra careful while teaching the young girls and women of the villages. There were threats from their fathers & brothers who make their living on these girls. Indeed process and results were very slow due to the extreme social pressure on the girls & women. Preeti was a part of my counseling programmes. In Sept. 2008 Preeti shared with Mina and I that her uncle was planning to sell her to the same man who previously visited their house in regards to her sister. We noticed she was sensing danger and scared for her life. It was a challenge to remove this girl from her abusive family environment. They hit her repeatedly when she denied going to Mumbai. That night she was threatened again by her uncle & aunt for leaving the house without permission. She ran away the next day from her uncle’s home got on the bus and reached Mina’s house. Mina and I had already given her our addresses and phone numbers to contact us in any situation. This was our action plan to respond to Preeti’s problem. Now Preeti is at the safehouse. She escaped just in time. She has horrible memories of the past and her behavior is unnatural due to the trauma yet she is learning slowly to laugh with the other children. She is feeling the love of a family in the safehouse. She also attends school. Reading, writing and multiplication terrify her but she will gradually learn it in time with regular study. We can raise our voices and tell their stories and offer help for these girls who are constantly facing these challenges. With love, determination, hard work and finances we can give these children emotional stability, shelter, food, health, and education! It is the solution for unloved and abused children. It gives them hope and brings them back into the mainstream of society.

Send all donations to:

Abha Benjamin
The Grace Church Campus
44 a.b. road
Dewas 455001
M.P. India

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Abha is my best friend and a true princess. She lives in India and she has rescued 14 children from the street. Abha and I  had always talked about street children and doing something for them. We talked so much that one day Abha went out and  bravely started collecting them off the street and bringing them home to her house.  Needless to say this created an unpleasant  rental situation.  Abha would need to find another house for her “street children”.   Abha told me the sad news and I asked her how much a rental would cost.   She estimated $300.00 per month.  With the rent and the security deposit it would be only $600.00 to move in.  I told Abha to find a house  and I would help with the finances.   Abha set about looking for the new house while I prayed and hoped over here in the US.   She did all the hard work, she and her husband who is a precious man who cares for the children as much as she does.  The day she called me with the good news about finding a house I was overjoyed to say the least.  They moved into the house  May  2009. Two of the children became sick one  with chicken pox and the other with  heat exhaustion right before they moved in.  Abha had sick children to care for besides moving but she faced the challenge and moved right in.  Abha and I have named this cause  “Safehouse India”.  Some of the children that are at the house are girls who were rescued from child prostitution.  Abha put her life in danger to save the girls. Their families sell them to ruthless people. It is a very sad situation. I will be telling the stories of these children who have been rescued from the streets. I am asking that you read this blog and determine to do something useful about this urgent situation. If you can donate then  please do so. There are many other needs. There is the matter of water.  Clean water does not conveniently come out of the faucet. It has to be bought off of a water truck at the costs of $50.00 or more per week. Abha then adds chlorine tablets to the water to purify it. The children  will always need clothes, shoes, medical attention, schooling, and food. Please give generously. If you cannot give then pray. Pray for Abha, her husband  and the children.  Pray  that people will read these stories and give.

Send all donations to:

Abha Benjamin
The Grace Church Campus
44 a.b. road
Dewas 455001
M.P. India

                                                                   

Orphans begging at the bus stop.  

Little bird and her friends.

 

Photos courtesy Joel Doussant.

 

“Little bird” begs at a bus stop in India.  She and a group of other children are homeless and living on the street.  What kind of life is this for children?  These children need to be housed in “safe houses” built especially for them.  They need a roof, food, clothes, and people who love them.  Every night when I lay my head on my pillow I think about the children who lay on the street to sleep and I feel guilty.  The good thing about this guilt is that it has made me determined to somehow make life better for these children.  

Photo courtesy of Joel Dousset