Nine Days In Date: 28/12/2012
Yesterday, Sajji and I crowded into a Save Our Sisters bus along with our 15 self defense girls. We were going to visit their home. While Save Our Sisters provides skills for these young ladies, it is the government that provides the actual living facilities for rescued women. And some of these facilities can be deplorable and terrifying, as reported recently in the news: http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_deonar-shelter-inmates-escorted-back-home_1768749 and http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Judge-confirms-trespass-in-Mankhurd-shelter-report/articleshow/17591544.cms In fact, when we were first invited to visit such a place, I told Sajji that she couldn't come (I thought she was going to kill me). I mean, it is one thing to walk into a situation full of risk for yourself, but a totally different animal to ask someone else to do the same. At any rate, I slept on it, and decided that there is safety in numbers, and 1 Sajji = 10 buttkickers. I was even more relieved when I later heard that we would be escorted by several Save Our Sisters staff. Further relief came when we were told that the girls did not live at the shelter mentioned in the articles above - that shelter is for women. We would be heading to the only government-run protective home in the entire state of Maharashtra for under-age girls (15 - 18 years old) rescued from the sex trade. This government home currently houses a total of 35 young ladies, 15 of whom we already know through Save Our Sisters. We were invited to this home because the Save Our Sisters girls have been practicing their newly learned self defense skills there, and upon seeing this, the warden was impressed enough to request our classes. So, Sajji and I were led into the dimly lit but airy hall where the class will be held, new girls flittering around. They reminded me of gnomes in the way that they peeked from the corners of windows, around doorways, and from behind each other. As class gets under way, even as the girls loosen up a bit, I note that there are a few girls that are mentally calloused and tough way beyond their mere 15 years. These tough ones will be very hard to reach. We will koshish karna (the hindi word for try). Today will be class number two for them. Wish us luck.