Asha grew up in a Muslim household in a rural village. One of nine children, she was part of a family business rolling cigarettes. Her father was a violent man and beat Asha and her mother, making the home a difficult place to live.
At the age of 12, a man claiming to be a Muslim proposed to Asha To escape her violent father, Asha accepted. However, shortly after the marriage, she found out he was a Hindu. Asha ran back to her family, refusing to stay with her husband. Her parents insisted that she go back to him. Rather than accept this, Asha decided to take her life, because in the Muslim faith, it is wrong to marry an “infidel.”
Asha attempted to drown herself by jumping into a well. Her plans were foiled when a man rescued her. Asha lived with him for a while and then he sold her to a brothel and her name was changed to Reshma. Soon after, Reshma discovered she was pregnant. The brothel keeper forced her to have an abortion. After some time there, Reshma was rescued in 2010. A social worker took her home, but her parents would not accept her back. Faced with ultimate rejection and loss, Reshma knew she needed other options.
When she heard about Freedom Firm’s aftercare program, she jumped at the opportunity. Today, Reshma is known as Asha, which means hope. She loves to tell people how she now has a new life and the old life is gone. Asha has become a serious follower of Christ and was baptized in Ooty. With many leadership gifts and lots of initiative, Asha has a bright future. Her dream is to develop another jewelry workshop that would employ many other girls rescued from prostitution.
(You can see more of Asha’s story in detail in the documentary, “Horse and Rider.”)