Tuesday, 7 February 2012


It all started on that fateful day, when I came home from school- my bag full of books, my mind full of information. I would be a doctor, I decided that day, I told my teacher that, too. She was so happy, she smiled at me. I couldn’t wait to tell ma and papa, I hoped they would be happy, too.

I knew they would be happy, my little mind brimming with possibilities. But I didn’t know they would be happy even before I told them. Just as I pushed open the door with my six-year-old hands, I saw them sitting together, a smile connecting their faces like a big rip in leather.

“Come here, little one.” My mother beckoned me.

“Sit here.” My father said, patting the little space between Ma and him, on the ground.

“You are now going to be a big girl!” Ma began. My eyes grew big with wonder and amazement. I was indeed growing up! I wanted to be a doctor. But how did my parents know?

“You are now going to work for a couple and study alongside to be a doctor, and send money for our family each month. And with your money, we can be a happy family and take care of your little brothers, make them study and grow to be doctors!”
Based on the true occurings in the case of many girls world over.

I didn’t know what to say. The jubilation of being a provider for my family was too much to bear. I just nodded in excitement, clasping my hands tightly in my lap. That evening was an extravaganza. Even though my parents could barely afford it, we had the best fish for dinner. My parents were happy, each line in their face spoke of the pride, of the joy that would soon come in with the money. Their little girl would both study-study better at that- and earn. She would grow to be well-bred, a city girl, a charmer. What more could they want?

The next morning, I left. I left home, looking back at it one last time, wondering with a sudden premonition, if I’d ever see it again.

And I was right.

I sit today in a little broom cupboard, wondering where the river of my life meandered to.

I stayed with them, and still do. For one year, each day was filled with empty promises of sending me to school. Nothing came, except for sound beatings from the lady I serve. I did, and still do all the work. Her children look at me and poke fun at me, sometimes ordering me about, though they were a good number of years younger than me.
And one day, things grew worse.

I was alone in the house, the lady of the house having made a trip of convenience with her younger children. Her husband came home and forced himself on me, leaving me shaken and miserably scarred for life. Days passed, and he continued. And on some days, his oldest son did the same to me. My body hurt, my modesty was violated repeatedly.

I couldn’t bear it anymore, and I decided to muster enough courage to tell the Lady of the House about it. And I went.

But what happened that night was terrible.

She beat me, slapped me, kicked me. She beat me up, she called me an ungrateful wretch. I was a slut, she said. I was a whore. I was everything she accused me of, she said. I wanted to destroy her household, she claimed. I told terrible lies. The next time I would say such a thing, I would be sent home, she said.

I still work here, fear ruling my life. My family needs the money, my job is the only provider.

I watch while my dreams fly into the sky, never hitting the ground to become reality.


  1. What a sad story... It's like you read about girls living in such conditions over and over again, but it never ceases to frustrate me and to sadden me... Girls have so much potential. It's terribly sad to see their lives be wasted like this. So hard to read that she stayed in that abusive place because she wanted to help provide for her family. That fact, right there, speaks about the priorities of girls... thanks for sharing the story...

  2. Sometimes words do not properly convey emotions, but this story is gravely sorrowful! Living in fear, depression, and not knowning where to turn to or who to turn to is a terrible feeling I do not wish upon any man. Hopefully articles like this will stir up courage, and resentment towards slavery, from everyone reading to do something, to create awareness whenver and whereever possible!

  3. We must all join hands to fight child labor!