What I learned about Mahesh and Laxman’s sisters stayed on my mind all night until the next morning. This morning I tried finding out if human trafficking exists around the area that we’re from. They said human trafficking for prostitution doesn’t exist around here, but girls in the poor villages are sold as brides.
My cousin and her husband started telling me about how there would be a group of people that will con people into buying a bride (this usually only happens in the poor areas). A man will send a girl into a village with a cell phone. She’ll set up residence in the village with a fake name, fake family, and whatever else she needs to make her life believable. They’ll stay in the village until a marriage is set up with someone. Once the payment is made for the girl, she and her fake family will pick up and leave town. They’ll do this over and over again in different areas. It doesn’t seem believable, but apparently it happens a lot.
Later that morning my cousin made me go next door to find a sari to wear to someone’s wedding today. While they were busy trying to find me something to wear, I saw Usha washing dishes. She called me over and introduced me to her other sister Nita. She asked me how old I am and then asked me if I’m married. I laughed and said no, I’ve still got time for all of that. I asked her how old she is and she said 15. She’s been married since she was 13 and by the time she’s 20 she’ll be living at her husband’s house. I asked them if they want to go to school. For Nita, school was out of the option, but for Usha it is still possible. Nita told me that she got kicked out of school during second grade because she missed too many days during the cauliflower harvest. Usha told me that she would be willing to go to school if she was supported. I told her that I would be able to help her family with food if that was an issue. She said okay and told me to talk to her mother when I had the chance.
I came home and started talking to my mom and cousin about this. My cousin told me, like before, that the government school gives them money for clothes and a free education. They will also give them packets of food to give to the children, but the kids will come home and they or their parents will give those packets of food to the cows. When I talked to Usha, it seemed like she sincerely wanted to go to school.
Usha and her other three sisters
Usha's little sister
Once again, I talked to my dad and it wasn’t until I stayed on the phone with him for a period of time that I realized what I need to do. The government school gives them everything, but they choose not to go. However, the government hasn’t visited their homes, hasn’t gotten to know each child on a personal level and they have never had a face to face interaction with them. Throughout my time here, I have done all of this.
Everyone here is telling me that it isn’t possible to give these types of a girls an education, but no one has even tried to give these girls a chance. No one from the outside or within the village has tried to support these girls. If Aahana does start this sponsor a girl program, it’ll be a risk that we’re willing to take. We’ll have yearly progress reports for each sponsor and a set amount of money for clothes, food, and books that the girl will need. If it doesn’t work and the girls do stop going to school, we’ll at least know we tried.
I also keep forgetting to mention that we found a place for Teeny (from the second blog post) to go. We’re going to visit the place tomorrow! I’ll be writing about it in tomorrow’s blog post.