India (MNN) — Today on the International Day of the Girl Child, we’d like to help you engage in the fight against injustice. While injustice takes many forms, human trafficking is one of the most widely recognized types of abuse and discrimination against women in poverty.
According to Reuters, South Asia is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world for human trafficking. An estimated half-million children under the age of 18 are trapped in India’s sex trade.
India Partners’ Donna Glass says child sponsorship helps keep girls off the streets and in the classroom.
“If parents can only afford to pay the school fees and uniforms and supplies for one child, it will be the boy child,” Glass explains.
“The girl child is relegated to helping out the house, with the expectation that she will get married eventually and she will have her own home and a husband to support her.”
By getting an education, girls have more options for their future. Empowering girls through education also happens to be a key aspect of this year’s International Day of the Girl Child.
You can support India Partners’ work towards an India rich in hope, justice, and compassion by helping a girl like Maria go to school.
Down the street from a luxury resort in one of India’s mega-cities, kids run barefoot through alleys lined with trash and human waste. When night falls, exploited women and girls prepare themselves. Their bodies will be used and abused by strangers until sunrise.
It’s against this backdrop that Maria*, her three siblings, and their parents eke out an existence in a one-room tin shack.
“Maria’s not in the red-light district, but she’s in the slum right next to it,” Glass shares. “It’s really hard to make ends meet and…her parents argue frequently. Sometimes [they] will take that out [on Maria], using negative words or discouraging her.”
Her grades began dropping and she withdrew socially. “She refused to participate or even study,” recalls Glass.
One day, Maria came to a “Fun Club” hosted by India Partners’ national cohorts.
“We have drop-in centers where they (children) can come and get coaching in their school[work] and [participate in] activities,” Glass describes.
“It gives them a chance to just be a child.”
After coming regularly to India Partners’ fun club for a few months, Maria began to change.
“She started to study, her confidence was built up,” shares Glass. She also began taking better care of herself as she learned about health and hygiene. Now, “whenever something comes up [at home], she’s willing to talk to our folks.
“She knows she has a safe place where she can go and she can talk to people who are there to help her.”
Click here to sponsor a vulnerable child through India Partners. Or, $7 provides one “night of safety” for a child in the red-light districts. Click here to help a young child escape the abuse and violence of India’s red-light districts.
*Name changed for security purposes.
Header image courtesy of India Partners.