Tina wakes up to get ready for another day at the shelter home, only this time it’s as a young trainee. She has her classes to finish, her studies to complete, before she starts with the tasks of the traineeship. These are busy days and we hear the smile in her voice, when we call to check in on her, and hear her reflecting on her journey.
Tina first came to the shelter home when she was 11 years old. Scared and uncertain of what the future held for her. Over the last eight years Tina been able to go to school, make new friends and heal from the trauma she faced. This year, as she turned 19, she began the next phase of her life. A new beginning, filled with hope, joy and love.
Tina is a survivor, in many senses of the word. She lived on the streets since she was born. In 2012, her family moved to Delhi from Rajasthan so that her impoverished parents could get treated for Tuberculosis. In Delhi, having to use their meagre resources for treatment, they turned a small section of footpath in a South Delhi neighbourhood close to the hospital, into their home. One night in August that year, she was picked up by two men on a motorcycle and taken to an unknown room, where they proceeded to sexually assault her. Meanwhile her mother awoke and saw that Tina was missing and rushed to the police station. Once the two men were done, they left her where they had picked her up.
A case of kidnapping and sexual assault was registered against the two men and Tina’s case went to court. Meanwhile, Tina was taken to the Child Welfare Committee. On seeing the health condition of her parents, they decided it would be best if Tina was placed in a shelter home, at least till they recovered. A few months later both her parents died of their illness. Her aunt and cousins continued to visit her at the shelter home and her grandmother asked to take custody of the child. However, having now been empowered through the support provided to her, Tina decided to stay in the shelter home and not with her grandmother. She could see that this was the only way she could realise her dreams of a life beyond the terrible realities she had seen.
Earlier this year, Tina became a care leaver. When asked what she would like to do next, she said she would like to stay on in the shelter home, not as a dependent but as a contributor. As she completes her last year of high school, she is also receiving training in the running of the home and teaches the younger children in the home. She hopes to go to college, while she continues to give back to the place and people that helped her find her new beginning, while helping other children who have experienced traumas similar to hers. We are inspired and hopeful for Tina’s new beginning!
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