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


Street children of Nepal.  Where will they sleep, what will they eat, who will be their mother and father?  It is cold now in Nepal.  Who has given these children a place to live, a jacket, warm boots for their feet and mittens for their hands?  Who has given them soup for their belly?  Why do they have to beg?   I have so much and I am doing so little.  Heavenly Father forgive me. 

Photographs courtesy of Ann Vandemeulebroeke

“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

What would you do if you were a  caregiver at an orphanage and there were so many children that you could not take care of them all.  Would you go home every night feeling overwhelmed and defeated?  Would you  give up and quit your job?  What would happen to the children if one less person was there to care for them?  What  would  you do if you were the director of the orphanage and you could never get enough funds to feed and clothe the children properly?  Would you go home every night feeling overwhelmed and defeated?  Would you  give up and quit your job?  What would happen to the children if you weren’t  there? Many children in orphanages are suffering.  They are cold because there is not enough money for heat. For the same reason there is not enough food.  Babies drink potato water because there is no formula.  Children sit for long periods of time on potties because there is not enough money to pay for the soap, water and energy it takes to wash diapers. Cold, hunger, sickness, not enough human touch or interaction, very few toys if any, hopelessness.  What will you do?

Ages unknown. Two orphan girls sit near the window of the Lotus Children’s Home in a a Ger Village on the outskirts of Ulaan Bataar.  It was completely an accident that the glass is shattered and taped directly in front of the mouth of this little girl… It is very symbolic to me, however, in representing the lack of voice these children have in telling the world about their situation.

Age 1 year. An orphan girl wakes up from a nap inside the Lotus Children’s Home in a a Ger Village on the outskirts of Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia.  Jake Brewster narration and photographs

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