It is indeed very hard to digest narratives of young village girls being separated from their families and sent to nearby cities to work and to bring in additional income to their impoverished families. Typically the work they get involved in is that of a domestic help, earning a mere pittance – an amount often much lower than the prescribed minimum wage, often mistreated and physically abused.
Nine year old Hasi Khatun’s story is no different. Hasi, a resident of Sujagolpur village in South 24 Parganas.lost her father while she was studying at the local IIMPACT Learning Centre in class 2. Her mother was left to support 8 children, tirelessly working long hours as domestic help in a nearby city home. A well meaning relative suggested they send young Hasi to nearby Bihar to do the same kind of work for much needed additional income.
This phase in Hasi’s life was no less than torture – she swept, swabbed and washed clothes daily. She slept on the floor. She was not paid and was often mistreated by the employers. She was occasionally both verbally and physically abused by the employers in small but painful ways. If she accidentally broke an object in the house while cleaning she would not be given food for a day- a form of retribution.
When the Teacher and members of the IIMPACT team got news of Hasi’s plight they confronted her mother who reluctantly divulged the truth describing their compulsion to send Hasi out to work in order to add to the family income. Hasi’s mother was advised and she was gradually made to understand the negatives of what Hasi was going through at an age when she should be learning and preparing herself to better her own future.
Hasi’s mother saw reason and relented – she brought Hasi back from the frightening world she had been forced to inhabit. She ensured that Hasi returned to IIMPACT’s Learning Centre picking up threads from where she had left off.
IIMPACT ‘s team worked closely with her and helped gift Hasi her childhood back!