Since many people have asked, I wanted to pass along this news: by the end of the day yesterday, the 15-year old girl in AIC’s Education Outreach Program had been removed by police from her aunt and uncle’s home.
Her relatives, furious as you might imagine, made her remove and leave anything and everything that wasn’t “hers” – including her anklets, a small bag of personal items that she had packed, and all clothes except for the school uniform and backpack that AIC had given her. So she headed off in a police van with literally nothing but her the clothes she was wearing (school uniform), her school bag and a shawl that Swati, our Education Outreach Program Coordinator, took off and gave her to wear.
She is currently being kept in a remand home (read: juvenile prison) until the completion of the court procedures. We’re told that she will most likely be released on Monday, at which point we have a safe, stable place ready to keep her. We took over a bag of toiletries, food and whatever clothes items we could rustle up this morning. She is doing well and has maintained emotional strength and high spirits throughout this trying process.
Her story (name omitted) was in all of the local Marathi newspapers today – it felt so strange to read it, as if I were reading about some other sordid case, not a child I know personally and a situation I was involved in firsthand. But the good news is that she has refused to be a victim, and whatever unscrupulous plans her relatives were making for her future are behind her now. It’s too soon to start celebrating, but I can at least say that we’re all very relieved at the outcome of the situation [I’m not sure I’ve ever bitten my nails as much as I did the past few days] and excited to see where this girl’s life takes her from this point forward.