Rebecca, once known as Karishma*, was Freedom Firm’s first rescue. The twelve-year-old had been forced into prostitution by her grandmother, who lived off Rebecca’s nightly earnings. After rescue and living in a government home, she was angry at the world and became violent and unmanageable. We sought and were granted permission to bring Rebecca to Roja, our aftercare home in Ooty, but before we could make much identifiable progress with her, the government reclaimed her.
Over the next three years, she was transferred to four different rehabilitation
homes, and none of them could control her. This year, the government finally allowed
Rebecca to come back to Freedom Firm's aftercare home in Ooty. But now she was older, stronger, still defiant, and uneducated as ever since she had turned her back on any schooling.
The first month back in Ooty, Rebecca staged many efforts to control the staff and other
girls. Although just sixteen, she is a true leader, and many of our older girls looked up
to her and followed her blindly. Thankfully, God has brought us determined and wise
staff. Freedom Firm Aftercare Manager, Anik, has guided the staff in handling Rebecca with
a positive approach, disciplining her when needed, and giving encouragement and love in a
hundred different ways.
For three months Rebecca waged war against her rehabilitation. Finally, Anik drew the line. She gave Rebecca a choice: either shape up and get with the program or leave Freedom Firm. It was a risk. We knew Freedom Firm was the best hope for her, but we also knew it had to be her choice to stay.
At first, she reacted negatively, giving us the silent treatment and even venturing into town alone without telling anyone where she was going. It looked like she would be gone again. But one day, her hardness began to crumble. Rebecca opened up said she wanted to stay. Soon, she accepted counseling and we began to see a new side of her. There is a softness in her demeanor now, and clear evidence of engagement with the program. She obeys most of the rules these days, although she can’t refrain from testing the boundaries once in a while. What teenage girl doesn’t?
She works hard at making jewelry and is doing very well in her math studies. She learns English reluctantly, having some fierce allegiance to her native language Marathi. But she’s learning. It’s amazing progress from a girl who adamantly refused to learn anything in a classroom. Her violence is diminishing. Peace, self-control, and true moments of happiness are emerging. Rebecca has stopped fighting those that love her the most, and she is embracing her own rehabilitation.
*name changed to protect identity