Today I would like to introduce you to one girl who, in a way, stands out a bit in the crowd of our school children if you look at her background. It is not only the fact that she is living in Vrindavan with her aunt and her grandmother but also the fact that she came from Delhi to us at the beginning of the school year. Her name is Priya and she is 12 years old.
We have many children who were born somewhere else and moved to Vrindavan at a later point in life. Most of them however have come to Vrindavan from a village or a smaller town and the parents moved here due to the work possibilities of the bigger town. So how come Priya came to Vrindavan from the capital of this country, from Delhi? And on top of it without her parents?
Her parents felt it was not safe for her in Delhi anymore. In their street in Delhi, there was a man who had a dangerous obsession with Priya. One day, he followed her to school, waited for her to come out after her classes, approached her and asked whether she ‘wanted a treat’. Priya is a very bold girl and immediately said no to this, running home the rest of the way. When she told her mother about it, who knew the man, her mother went to confront the man. When he replied that it was the girl’s fault, that she had provoked and teased him, Priya’s mother believed him and got angry with her. She even started hitting Priya – but finally believed her protestations that she it was really not her fault at all.
Upon that, they went to police. A visit was paid and there was peace for two months before the whole thing started again. This happened a few times and when the police didn’t really care anymore, Priya’s family took justice in their own hands: they caught him one day and beat him up. That kept him away from her for another two months before it started once more. When Priya’s aunt managed to film his next approach on Priya, trying to lure her into his home, the police finally arrested him. A relief for the family – but only for short time! His family paid for getting him out of jail – and he was free to try again. He did, trying to pull Priya into his car. She screamed and got help, which saved her that day. That’s when Priya’s mother had enough: to keep her daughter safe, she sent her to her mother and sister to Vrindavan.
None in the family earns more than is necessary to make ends meet. Priya’s father works in a factory that makes underwear for children. Her mother is a security guard, checking purses at the entrance of a mall. Priya’s aunt, with whom she now spends most of her time, has a small baby and thus stays at home, while her husband holds speeches on religious programs. Due to this, he is often away on travels to other cities and it is nice for the young mother to have Priya for company!
Priya however misses her parents and her younger brother and sister a lot. Since July, they have only been able to visit once because they did not get holidays. Although Priya likes living in Vrindavan, she also misses Delhi – but she tells that she likes our school more than her old one and has already found some good friends, too! We are happy that we can not only give her the base to a good future but also provide her a safe environment!