The Freedom Firm aftercare home opened in late 2006 and we called it Roja, the Tamil word for rose. At first, we rented a large bungalow, but we had to share part of it with some unwanted tenants and the building needed a lot of repairs. When the landlord kicked us out 18 months later, we rented another place for a few months. Finally, in February of 2008, we bought a small property in the heart of Ooty town. The new Roja sits on one-twentieth of an acre, and with a mere 400 square feet, the very size of the cottage implies “short-term stay” for the girls rather than “long-term dependence.” Living in Roja isn’t isolation, sequestered away in a safe spot way outside of town. It means dealing with dirty buses, nosey neighbors, and tempting bellboys from the hotel next door. Freedom Firm’s Roja is a place to learn, meet challenges and grow, and get back into real life.
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