Disabled *Rebekah, orphaned by Covid, would have become one more nameless victim of the virus without the intervention of our partners in Patripul, India.
It is hard to imagine a child in a more vulnerable situation: An unprotected Dalit girl, with speech and mobility difficulties following a bout of polio, orphaned by Covid and left alone in a national and international crisis. Thank God for our local partners’ watchful care!
One Tragedy Follows Another
12 year-old Rebekah first came to the attention of our Patripul partners in 2018. Her Dalit father had committed suicide after his employer refused to pay his wages for four months, and had him beaten when he demanded payment. His destitute family took to the streets to beg, where they met our partners. Mum was encouraged to send the children to the GCare centre . The centre supports the education and welfare of Dalit children in Patripul, There they would be safe.
However, Rebekah’s brother continued to beg and in March 2020, just before lockdown, he disappeared. His body was found on a rubbish dump a few days later. No-one has ever investigated his death.
The grieving mum and daughter were supported by Global Care with food parcels throughout the first lockdown, and seemed to be doing well. However in the second wave of coronavirus which swept India, both became infected. Mum died at home, after being turned away by hospitals because she was undocumented (like so many Dalit families).
How Did We Help?
When our partners visited, they found Rebekah ill at home, alone. Initially they paid neighbours to provide food, but when her condition deteriorated, they paid for private hospital care. Rebekah needed ventilation, and might not otherwise have survived.
Our partners began searching for a home for Rebekah after her relatives initially refused to take her in. They also contacted the authorities about her case, and advocated for Rebekah’s needs.
Then her grandparents came to visit the hospital. Our partners say, “They ran away when they saw the size of the bill!” But the authorities tracked them down. Once they were assured that Global Care would pay for her hospital care, and they would not be indebted, they offered Rebekah a home.
Please continue to pray for Rebekah, who is experiencing another huge transition on top of her existing trauma and loss. Give thanks for our local partners, who stood by her when no-one else would, and for their faithful support of this marginalised Dalit community.
*Child’s name changed to protect her identity