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India: Newsline

A ray of hope

ibc_1_indiajul09
©Kaikho Ashuni World Vision International
Nafisa has to work long hours to help her single mother cope.

DIDHARA, India, 31 July 2009 - Change takes time. In one village in India, a family rejoices in the modest changes that World Vision has brought so far, but much more needs to be done.

Nafisa*, a 14-year-old girl from Didhara, a village near one of India’s fastest growing cities, Gurgaon, has just come back from a hard day’s work in Mewat district.

She hands over 25 rupees, worth about half a US dollar, to her mother. Her outstretched hand is already calloused, despite her young age.

The money is her wage after toiling in the heat for six hours. Deprived of a father at a young age, Nafisa was pulled out of school three years ago to help her mother by working at a farm to help provide for her siblings. The hard work never seems to be enough. Having vegetable curry to eat with the roti (plain Indian bread made of wheat flour) is still a luxury for the family.

To an outsider, Nafisa’s family may be in a pitiable condition but they say they are in a much better position since World Vision started working in their village.

“Earlier, we would have absolutely no income sometimes as our daily wages would be deducted for any loans or grains that we borrowed,” recalls Nafisa’s mother Bano. World Vision has begun its work with the community by helping the local women’s association Mahila Mandal to start a grain bank. This lends grains and money to families like Nafisa’s.

“Whenever we need grains we take it from the grain bank at a cheaper rate and with no pressure of payment until the next harvest time,” said Bano.

Although Nafisa is not yet living life in all its fullness, World Vision is striving to make a difference through initiatives that the community can sustain. The process of truly transforming communities takes time.

The grain bank has inspired hope in Nafisa, who expects to see her family in a better position in the near future. She plans to learn sewing and contribute more to the family’s income.

When you have been so poor, a young girl’s ambitions are straightforward. Asked what her dream for the future is, Nafisa responds, “I hope I’ll be able to enable my younger brother and sister go to school or get training so that they can get good jobs.”

* Women in Nafisa's family and many other families in this area do not use surnames.


 

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