Our Giving Tuesday story comes from deep in the rural countryside of South India. With only one road leading from their village to the big city, Samira*, her husband, and their five-year-old son lived outside the village. Though Samira’s husband worked on a farm, he frequently missed work because of his alcohol addiction. Additionally, their son had numerous learning challenges that caused him to struggle with speaking, and prevented him from going to school. Due to their circumstances, the family struggled for years. On top of this, they longed to have another son. Finally, Samira got pregnant…
For five long and difficult years after their son’s birth, Samira and her husband wanted another child. Finally, when Samira conceived, they learned that she was expecting twins. Immediately, she was overwhelmed with joy! But that joy quickly turned to fear…
Samira’s husband and mother-in-law reminded her that they expected her to give birth to sons (as if she had any control!). Having daughters would be a “burden” on her family. Because sex-determination ultrasounds are illegal, she had no idea if she would give birth to boys or girls. Samira felt incredibly overwhelmed.
As the months passed, her husband’s pressure became more intense. Through his drinking and verbal abuse, Samira grew even more fearful for her unborn twins and for herself. She desperately desired to protect her babies, whether they were boys or girls. Fearful and alone, she courageously fled to her parents’ house, leaving everything behind.
On December 12th, 2022, Samira gave birth to two adorable baby girls, Hamreet* and Karishma*. Unfortunately, Samira’s husband was bitterly disappointed and even angry that she gave birth to daughters. Because he desired sons, not daughters, he refused to visit them in the hospital. His wife and baby girls were alone.
To make matters even worse, Samira’s husband called and demanded that she kill one of their daughters before she was allowed to come home from the hospital. He believed that one daughter was enough of a burden. Two daughters were a “curse.”
Samira felt like her world was caving in. She was abandoned and in great despair. Yet, when she looked at her babies, courage welled within her. She knew she would do whatever she could to protect her daughters. She refused to follow her husband’s evil command.
When she was released from the hospital, she decided to take her baby girls to her parents’ home. Her parents could provide the shelter they needed, but they were poor themselves. How would Samira be able to take care of her daughters now? Could they survive?
Not long after she and her daughters were released from the hospital, Samira learned about IGP’s grassroots partner that was working to rescue at-risk girls in nearby villages. She wondered…could IGP help her?
Courageously approaching our partner, Samira shared her story: how she had been verbally abused, how her husband demanded she kill one of their twin daughters, and how she was now alone with the babies. Our social workers then shared stories with her – how we helped other mothers and daughters just like them for many years now. Recognizing Samira’s need and her girls’ vulnerability, we promised we would be there for them, just like we were for hundreds of other mothers and little girls across India.
So, we committed to protecting them, by working with local officials to ensure their safety. Next, we placed the girls in our child sponsorship program, where individuals give monthly to ensure that Samira has the care as well as the nutrition she and her daughters need to be well-fed and healthy. Then, we started counseling her husband on the value of his daughters. We taught him that his precious daughters were not burdens; their lives were as valuable as any boy’s life.
Through the persistent efforts of our social workers, Samira’s husband ultimately saw that his wife and daughters deserved better treatment. Over time, our social workers witnessed his change of heart. His former disdain for his own daughters evolved into a love and a desire to care for them. And months later, Samira and the baby girls moved back home. The entire family was reunited.
Over the course of 2023, their lives have changed. Our social workers continue to care for and counsel the family. And, we have most recently learned that the girls are now active crawlers and sleeping through the night. They are thriving.
Before rescue, the girls’ lives were at risk, simply because of their gender. But because you donated last year on Giving Tuesday, we were able to come alongside this courageous mother, serve these girls and their family, and help change a father’s heart.
Will you donate this Giving Tuesday to help other girls who are waiting for rescue? Help us meet our $100,000 matching challenge donation, and propel our work into 2024. You can truly help us continue this important, life-saving work by giving today!