Every Giving Tuesday, we highlight a story from the field. This is a story of transformation, a story of a girl’s life that has been changed.
When she was born, her father abandoned her family because he wanted a son. Bhavani and her mother were left completely alone, and Bhavani’s mother blamed her for their loss. When Bhavani was just three years old, her mother forced her to work in the cotton fields every day in the sweltering sun to help pay for her food. When she got sunburned, her arms and little face felt like fire, and they were often covered with her tears. She never had the chance to go to preschool. She never played like other little girls around the world and often experienced her mother’s verbal and emotional wrath, just because she is a girl.
Eventually, Bhavani became numb.
People in the small village where Bhavani lived knew that her father abandoned her. A neighbor had also witnessed her mother’s abuse. This neighbor knew of our work in a nearby area. They had seen that we helped girls just like Bhavani, and so they alerted us about Bhavani’s case.
Our social workers immediately found Bhavani’s mother and started investigating. Finding three-year-old Bhavani abused, malnourished, and working as a child-laborer, our social workers rescued her.
Now she is living in our partner’s safe home and is thriving. She is loved like a child should be, is being taught her inherent value, and is in school (pre-kindergarten) now for the first time!
We rescued Bhavani over a year ago. Our social workers counsel and care for her and all our other rescued girls—an important part of our aftercare program. Over the course of this year, Bhavani is beginning to learn to trust adults after years of neglect and abuse.
We teach each one of our rescued girls her inherent worth, in spite of what she may have experienced or been told. We want to give them all hope and a future so that they will stop female gendercide in their families and in their culture.
This year Bhavani celebrated her birthday for the first time ever!
All of our partners have special birthday celebrations for rescued girls. This year, our US team was in India for Bhavani’s birthday celebration.
“I felt completely humbled to witness this. If given the option, I would never, ever miss either of my children’s birthdays. I can’t begin to wrap my head around consciously choosing not to celebrate their lives. This simple celebration for us means the world to our rescued girls.”
-Samantha Anderson (COO) shared about her experience on the trip.
Bhavani’s life as a little 4-year-old is now full of friends, school, and continual care. As it should be. She smiles often and rarely cries anymore. She knows she is valued and that no boy is more important than she.
This is the transformation we’re working for. We save girls’ lives to end female gendercide in India. But we don’t stop there. We teach each one of our rescued girls that her life is valued. We give them all hope and a future, through counseling, care, and an education. This year alone, we are sending 36 girls to college—girls who were once rescued and now have brilliant futures. We want them to be the change-makers in India. And through them, we believe India will begin to value its daughters.