Chana’s* Rescue 

In a quiet village, nestled amidst the rustic landscape of rural India, a tale of heartache and resilience unfolds. Married in 2002, Swarith* and Malini* had big dreams and aspirations for a blissful future together. After two years, they were ready to start a family. They knew they wanted to have a son. However, their dreams were stifled when Malini* gave birth to their first child, a daughter. They named her Chana*. Swarith* was absolutely devastated. He desperately wanted a son. A few years later, Malini* gave birth to their second child, a daughter. 

After the birth of their second daughter, Malini* developed a rare skin disease. Despite her deteriorating health, Swarith* remained fixated on the idea of a male heir, refusing to accept the grave reality of their situation. His frustration simmered into resentment towards his wife, igniting a cycle of violence and abuse that haunted their household. 

In a desperate attempt to shield their daughter from Swarith’s* wrath, Malini’s* parents intervened, only to be met with curses. They were then kicked out of their daughter’s home. Swarith’s* alcohol-fueled rages became a nightly ritual, his fists raining down on his wife and daughters with merciless brutality. Even Chana*, only a child, bore the brunt of her father’s fury whenever she dared to protect her mother.

As Malini’s* health grew worse, Chana*, now ten years old, found herself thrust into the role of caretaker for her family. With each passing day, she shouldered the burdens of the household, from cooking and cleaning to caring for her younger sister.

Despite the adversities they faced, Chana* clung to the hope of her father’s love, yearning for the affection he withheld from his daughters. In 2019, tragedy struck, when Malini*, Chana’s* pillar of strength and her only confidante, passed away. In her final moments, she whispered to Chana* – “study well, be independent, and care for your  sister.”

With her mother’s passing, Chana’s* world crumbled around her, plunging her into the depths of despair. Her father, devoid of empathy or compassion, wasted no time in arranging a marriage for Chana*, disregarding her youth and her mother’s dying wishes. Alone and terrified, Chana* confided in sympathetic neighbors, her words laden with anguish and regret.

“I never asked to be born,” she whispered, her voice trembling with despair. “If only my mother were here, she would have stopped this madness. I have endured hell in my own home, and now, I fear I will face a similar outcome in marriage. Why must my life be plagued by suffering? I wish I had never been born.”

As Chana* grappled with the weight of her circumstances, her spirit remained unbroken, a glimmer of hope amidst the darkness that threatened to consume her. With each passing day, she clung to the promise she made to her mother, determined to craft a better future for herself and her sister, despite their past. 

After Chana* shared with her neighbors about her upcoming, illegal marriage, our partners were alerted to her plight. They were determined to rescue the girl from child marriage. With unwavering dedication, they worked with IGP to embark on a mission of safeguarding Chana’s* rights and secure her future. Our partners made great efforts to have regular counseling sessions, offering Chana* the support and guidance she so desperately needed.

Taking swift action, the social workers initiated legal discussions with Swarith*, impressing upon him the gravity of his poor decisions. Through patience and perseverance, they endeavored to change his mindset, advocating for Chana’s* right to education and autonomy.

However, Swarith* refused to change. In defiance and anger, he insisted that she was to be married. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the social workers arranged for Chana* to move to a safe and secure location, shielding her from the perils of her home environment. There, she found solace in the companionship of others who shared her struggles, surrounded by warmth and understanding.

IGP, together with our partner’s, did not stop there. We ensured Chana’s* basic needs were met, providing her with nutritious food and comfortable shelter. With unwavering support, we stood by her side, challenging her to pursue her dreams with resolute determination.

Now 20 years old, Chana* would say education has become beacon of hope, her pathway to a brighter future. With assistance from IGP and our partners, she embarked on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment, determined to defy the odds, and create a life of her own.

Chana’s* story is one of endurance, resilience, and triumph. She proves that even in the darkest of times, there is always hope for a better tomorrow.

Chana’s* story is just one of IGP’s many stories of rescue and hope.  Every day, girls in India face struggles much like hers.  IGP is dedicated to reaching these precious girls and giving them opportunities for a bright future. We are the sole international humanitarian organization working with grassroots organizations in India to rescue girls from abuse and neglect because of gender bias, to prevent trafficking, to save girls’ lives, and end female gendercide.    

*name changed for privacy. 

Equality for girls in India
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