In 2011, the Aftercare home in Ooty was characterized by the transition. Four long term volunteers returned home in the span of a couple of months, leaving spaces to be filled.
Also, four young women in the program graduated, and two new girls arrived in their place.
Construction started in 2011 to expand “Roja” home to care for up to 12 girls, but there were unexpected delays. (The project is expected to finish in 2012.)
In October, the Ruhamah Designs workshop and Education Centre moved to a new location; the space directly above the International Office! Aftercare and operations now coexist in community on a daily basis giving a strong sense of shared purpose and unity.
Despite the changes of new staff, structure, and residents, the aftercare program in Ooty has reached a new level of maturity. The girls now spend six hours a day employed to make and design jewelry by Ruhamah Designs (a partner micro-business) to help train them in vocational and life skills. The remaining two hours focus on education in English and Hindi, computers, and functional math. The staff and volunteers provide counseling, friendship, horse therapy, fun, and care.
When Mangala first arrived, she was very quiet. She was trafficked from Bangalore and rescued two years before. She began her process of restoration in government homes, but she still struggled to trust others. In an environment of care, education, and support for eight
months, it has been incredible to watch her change. Her smile beams across the room, and she does not hesitate to play loving jokes on staff and volunteers. She has begun to learn to write in Hindi and English. If there is a small child around, within minutes Mangala has the child comfortably held in her arms. Mangala still has a long journey ahead of her to gain the confidence to live independently, but it is encouraging to see her moving forward.