15 year old Premalatha* from Arunachal was enjoying her summer holiday when a neighbour lady asked if she would like to visit Chennai for the holidays. This neighbour aunty was nice and friendly and Premalatha did not see any harm in believing her. So she left with her and headed on a “just for fun” trip to Tamil Nadu. Little did she know what awaited her.
She arrived in Chennai to find that the nice neighbour lady lived with her husband who was not so nice. After repeated abuses, it all came to a head one day when, while the lady was out, the man beat Premalatha, bruising her face. When the lady heard of this and protested she was beaten so badly that she was unable to walk. Premalatha helped the lady to a neighbour’s house and refused to return with the abusive man. She was eventually handed over to the police and placed in the temporary government home for girls.
She was scared and lost when she arrived at the home believing that all hope was gone and that she had been placed in jail. Project Diya counselors counselled her and explained that they would work to make sure that she would return home, that the home was an opportunity to study, no matter how bad it got it was just a jumping pad to something better. They were able to speak to her in Hindi and help her communicate with the officials. Premalatha had hope.
Premalatha’s family was eventually tracked down and she returned to Arunachal Pradesh. She called Project Diya recently. She is happily back with her parents and family, once again able to enjoy being a child.