Sonia is 11 years old.
Her family was forced out of their home by a political activists targeting Muslims in 1999. Her father sold their house and land and purchased a house only to be moved on, four years later, when that slum was demolished. With a meagre payout provided for their loss, they moved elsewhere. In 2009 they were forced to move yet again by a construction company. They found another dwelling and Sonia’s father and elder brother went to pay for their new home.
They never returned. Sonia’s mother reported them missing and straight away was asked to go to the morgue to identify the bodies of her husband and son. They had been killed and thrown into the railway lines.
The money for the house was gone and Sonia and her mother were forced to live alone in a small hut in a large Dalit community
What are the risks facing Sonia?
In India the culture is oppressive towards Dalits – regarded as the lowest and most despised caste. This family, for example, has been forced from their home numerous times, leading to a very unsettled life and driving families towards begging, crime and prostitution.
Living in the slums is dangerous – disease, malnutrition and untreated illnesses are common, alcoholism is rife, and women and children are particularly susceptible to violence and abuse. With no other family to protect them, Sonia and her mother are highly vulnerable.
How do we respond to Sonia’s situation?
Sonia, living such a fragile and unsettled existence, cannot easily be sponsored, but our partners identified her as being particularly vulnerable. She has been admitted into the GCare centre, where she can be safe during the day and receive a basic education and welfare care. She will benefit from good role-models and a consistency that will serve to settle her otherwise transient life.
Children's names are changed and their photographs obscured for reasons of protection.