Monday, 15 May 2017
“Seeing girls take little steps of progress every week and seeing how God is working in their lives is such a joy. The healing process is long but I have learnt to celebrate small victories such as ‘this girl smiled for the first time”, or “she spoke up for the first time…”
(Leila*, Director of SIM’s Redlight-Greenlight Aftercare Home in South Asia)
Fourteen-year-old Shalu* was sent to the city to work as a housemaid. The man of the house took advantage of her vulnerability and started abusing her sexually. By the time she was rescued by the police, her face was so darkened that even when she was sitting still, it looked as if she were crying. Her body posture and facial expression painted the sad portrait of a lost, frightened child.
As time passed, with Shalu now in a safe environment, experiencing routine, and receiving input through life skills classes, a sewing course and counselling sessions, a staff member noticed that her demeanour had begun to change. One day, the staff member noticed a smile on Shalu's face. During subsequent weekly team meetings, different staff shared things like, “Shalu started talking!” or “Shalu has been feeling happy lately”. Soon her face was no longer marked by sadness. Rather, it was relaxed, the face of a little child marked by curiosity and maybe even at times joy.
Then the time came when Shalu had to go to court and testify about what had happened. A lawyer from our partner organisation came to prepare her. She realised she would be asked to describe what happened in detail – more detail than she wanted to think about. Her sadness came back and she started crying. The night before the trial started, Shalu started having flashbacks. She felt so nervous about testifying in court that she couldn’t go to sleep.
Shalu later shared with us that she heard a voice. The voice said, “Why are you crying? If I am with you, you do not have to worry.” As soon as she heard the voice, she felt a strong feeling of peace inside and she slept soundly all night.
*name changed to protect identities
Cross barriers with SIM Australia to help see girls like Shalu flourish! Click here to give a tax-deductible gift to Girls off the Streets (09340). A $65 donation will cover the expenses of a girl at the Redlight-Greenlight aftercare home in South Asia for one month.
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