A huge part of our restoration work entails our social workers travelling to remote villages to monitor rescued girls after they have returned home. We are currently monitoring 250 girls scattered across the length and breadth of India. Recently, 2 social workers visited a village in Rajasthan to check up on Neetu, a girl rescued by Freedom Firm in September 2015. They couldn’t find Neetu at her parents’ home, but neighbours pointed the way to the village temple. Hurrying there, they found Neetu, groaning in agony, covered in third-degree burns.
The neighbours tell the story One evening, loud screams coming from Neetu’s home drew them from their houses in the village. They rushed to her hut, and saw her whole body ablaze. By the time the villagers put out the fire, Neetu had sustained extensive burns. They learned later that she had been heating milk for her son on the open stove when flames caught her nylon skirt. Instead of taking her to the hospital for the treatment she so desperately needed, her family abandoned her at the local temple, hoping she would be healed by the gods.
A local organization breaks their promise Our team picked up medical supplies and treated her burns as best they could before connecting her to a local organization capable of providing her with daily support. Entrusting Neetu to their care, our social workers returned to their own homes, hundreds of kilometres away.* Over the next couple of weeks, Freedom Firm social workers tried to contact the organization many times to hear news of Neetu. None of their calls were returned. Realizing something was wrong, our team made an urgent trip to Neetu’s village.
Continued Crisis They were shocked when they found her. Her burns were infected and she was in terrible pain. The organization did not care for her as they had promised. Appalled, our team immediately contacted the local police inspector who provided his jeep for the emergency trip to the hospital. Thankfully, Neetu’s condition stabilized, and the social workers reached out to another local organization who stepped in and cared for Neetu during her recovery.
Our social workers keep in constant touch with the organization and Neetu’s neighbours who share regular updates about her health. Today, she is recovering well from her injuries. It is a miracle that she is alive.