From One Survivor to Another15 Dec 2007, by Uncategorized in
December 15, 2007
While waiting for the survivors at Sneha to finish tailoring my new outfit, I told them about my sponsored child, Kajol. They were so intrigued that I had an "Indian daughter" and wanted to know all about her. I think they understood the situation when I said she lives in Kidderpore with her mother, but has no father. I also told them about her naughty habits, like playing in the mechanic shop’s oil, and the girls just laughed. Then, one girl went searching in a cabinet and came back holding a small skirt and tank top set. "For your daughter," she smiled. I tried to refuse the precious gift, but realized that would only insult her gesture. She only asked that I take a picture of Kajol to show her.
I returned today to Sneha, with this photograph ready to show the girls. I wish I could describe their joy and pride in seeing this beautiful, smiling girl wearing their hand-stitched outfit. I had explained to Kajol that some of my friends made it for her, and that she should try very hard to keep it clean. Later that night, when the other children put on their sweaters before walking home, Kajol refused to put on her sweater because she wanted to show off her new outfit.
The community of survivors is so divided here, as the shelters exist in isolation from each other. But this one small gift, from one survivor to a child in the red light district, has potential to be a unifying bridge. I’m reminded of something Sarah Symons, TEN’s Director, once said: "These survivors aren’t paralyzed by fear. They can’t afford to be. They’re hopeful for the future; won’t you join them?"