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Sanju's story

Neal Riordan

My name is Sanju and I was a kamlari. I come from a very poor village and, when my mother ran away three years ago, it became impossible to hold the family together. My brother had already dropped out of school to work, and my father, even in his old age, was working as a laborer when he could.  So they sent me to work as a kamlari. I was 10.

It was very hard for me, physically and emotionally. While the other children of my age were going to school and learning new things, I was taking care of someone else’s babies. I worked 14 hours every day, cooking and cleaning up. The family acted like they owned me and the work was so overwhelming I just wished I could run away. I would cry, but nobody seemed to care. They didn’t even give me enough to eat so I had to resort to stealing food at night sometimes.

I suffered like this for two years until I was freed [by a community group] and could return to my little family. When Stop Girl Trafficking was introduced in my school, I was selected and it is only because of this that I can go to school. Even though my life is not easy at home, I am so happy to be able to attend school. I finally feel safe, knowing I will get to study instead of being sent away again.

 

Sanju Kumari Choudhary
Shree Siddhanath Primary School, Grade 5

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