Tuesday, February 2, 2010

When Protectors turn Predators...

Amina is a 12yr old special child. She came to me as a 10yr old... gang raped and mute. The police just dumped her with us for safe care,as no case could be booked. The child was hardly in a position to point out who had barbarically torn her!
For two years we nurtured Amina,with all the care..with all the compassion we possessed. We even got two of my staff trained in National Institute of Mental Health(NIMH) to gain skills to take care of special children.

Two years later Amina could speak a lot of words...she would come running to me…hugging me tight not allowing other children to come near me until she had her full.

As Amina grew older we felt quite at a disadvantage as we were less equipped to handle Amina and 7 other kids in the home who were mentally retarded. After a lot of internal discussion all of us in the team felt it would be better for these children if they were admitted in a home for special children, where they would be educated/trained with other special children. I was told many organizations were even specialized in providing occupational therapy which will in the long run make them employable. And hence it was decided to shift Amina and other special children to specialized home …convinced that would give them a better opportunity for mainstream life.

Our search for a good home was filled with challenges and hurdles. The name ‘Prajwala’ became a curse as it meant not just an anti trafficking organization but also a group who took care of a large number of trafficked HIV positive persons. Most reputed homes point blank refused admission on the presumption that Amina could be HIV positive(incidently she is not). We even took the support of Commisioner, Disabled Welfare to pressurize organizations who had Grant in Aid from Government of India to take these children. We were rejected by all. Most homes were willing to get into the bad books of the authorities but not take these children!

A newspaper classified ad that appeared in a leading English daily was the first ray of hope for us. Child Development Mission,an organization willing to take special children had advertised. We rushed to meet the organization. The friendly reception of the staff and the over enthusiasm of the team to welcome us at that time was really heart warming (after all the cold reception this was a welcome respite). But for some unknown reason (maybe it was our paranoid outlook) we decided not to admit all our children in the same place. Only Amina was admitted. Our team members informed the organization that we would be visiting every week to monitor Amina’s welfare which the organization strongly discouraged. We concluded as we had an organizational policy maybe they too had regarding visitors for residents.

In spite of the discouragement our team members went once a month to visit Amina. The first two meetings was uneventful. On the third visit we realized the organization had shifted its home. Panic set in when no neighbors could tell us where the organization had moved out and all phone numbers we had did not work. During this time I was traveling so Deepa my Director,Programs organized a team of senior members to hunt the organization. On a lead she even organized a decoy operation which finally lead us to the main functionary of Child Development Mission. The phone conversation with this gentleman was perhaps one of the most rude conversation we ever had. Only after our team threatened police action that this man mellowed down and gave us a cock and bull story of all children being sent away for Puja holidays and only Amina being housed in a care taker’s house.Such was our anxiety for Amina’s well being that we did not even question him why he had not informed us of the same…or why they had shifted…or what has happened to all phone numbers.In spite of all the persuasion he would not divulge the information where Amina was kept,just went on repeating that we could pick up Amina the next day. That night was the longest night for all my team members.

The next day our people rushed to the designated spot, a small room in a slum. The sight that awaited us was shocking to say the least. A totally unrecognizable Amina…with swollen face, swollen legs, barely able to stand …she was sitting in the room with a old woman who looked like a beggar. We brought back Amina, more shocks awaited us we when thoroughly examined her body. There were marks of bruises, burns all over her body. The greatest helplessness-Amina could not tell us what exactly happened.

Amina is now undergoing treatment for the last one week. We are planning legal action against the organization.
And I as I sit and mull over all these events, filled with untold guilt for the trauma we have caused in Amina’s life, would it have been better if Amina was with me without any real options for mainstream life…(until I am skilled to handle this issue…I don’t know how many more skills I need to master before I can handle it all)…living in a safe place but without any clear future ahead.

But my larger feeling is of anger and outrage.
When people/organizations claiming to be protectors and saviors turn predators doesn’t the world lose faith in the word TRUST.


  1. I think shock is too mild a word to describe how you all must have felt ! I can just pray that Amina recovers completely.I also pray that you all continue to have faith in spite of such experience.

    Your writing has moved me .Pl continue with your exemplary work.

  2. Sunitha ,

    Do you have any branch in bangalore ?
    I want to join you rescue teams if possible.

    Until LAWS in india have zero tolerance for these things and hang such people on roads i dont think it would stop .


  3. Bring these b******* to justice. This should be headline news in India. This is the face of the nation. Not some crappy Thackrey/Rahul fistfight. Where is Sagarika Ghose ?

  4. after pranita shaheen and anjali, this is just too much....y r people so brutal and sick?dont they have any child in their family?animals care better for the young ones than we humans do...normal humans wont do to the children waht these sick perverts do...every time i read about child molestation, something dies in me...will this never stop?sunitha, please dont ever stop ur work...if not u, there r very few brave enough to undertake ur mission of help...keep it up!!!

  5. Can't believe it! They don't deserve the title of 'Human'. I hope you stay strong and never lose faith on the path you have stepped in. God bless you sister.

  6. Good to see people willing to join the initiative...perhaps this is the only way we could become extended arms of people like Sunitha. We had enough of empathising/ admiring and praying and that's the easiest thing to do sitting in the cosy confines of one's safe dwelling, enough of that! .... and it is for us - people around to provide support when such moves of transformation are initiated by brave crusaders like Sunitha.

    Just a thought for your consideration and let's explore what can we do about it. >

    Can't we levarage the potential of technology to further this cause - am sure "Tactical Media" can be a powerful tool here.

    A lot needs to be done... just reminded of that saying of Elie Weisel : "It is not absence of love that is the worst, but indifference" .

  7. Kudos to you for doing such awesome work. Sincerely wish Amina a quick recovery!

  8. Am totally outraged...it is not just about Amina (terribly sad though this is), it is about the rottenness all around us which makes it so difficult to trust anybody...and yet you need to work with and trust people, you cannot do everything alone...on the positive side, we have so many well-wishers with the right intentions, we need to bring them together to share their resources..that way, we do not have to depend on "protectors".

  9. this is too much....how can a human... behave like this???never lose faith mam..God bless you

  10. Wish Amina recovers soon. Appreciate ur work.

  11. Hello incredible woman, thank you for sharing such a powerfully honest story. I feel for you learning and yet have no real understanding of what you are facing, except what you are writing. Please keep writing, describing what you feel, what you see, what you are doing.

    Would there be an internet tool that can verify this kind of NGO?

    Thanks again, with Deep Respect,


  12. I have deep respect for you do Sunitha. Though I can't physically help not being in the same geopgraphy, I would love to help you in any possible way I can remotely.

  13. What happens later to children rescued and entrusted to such NGOs. Is there any system to recheck it? It is a scary tale for anyone sensible but must be happening everyday in our country. Whom you will trust in this beastly world?
    Sunita, you are on a selfless and godly mission.

  14. :'( for what happened to amina.
    :''( for what is happening around us.
    :'''( for not being able to do anything about it, for not being able to join you, for being an incapacitated a****** myself. But, I will join you one day soon.

  15. I believe in Karma, the people who done this to that poor child will suffer if not now , lateer in life, but wether they will realise that this the reason why they are suffering is a complete diffrent story. you need not be feeling guilty about this, because u had the poor childs best interest at heart, like u said when u see a welcoming face after so much rejection what had happened was very natural. But i feel for that lil one, she young, her communication is a challening one. Nothing can remove the scars, that has been caused to these poor children, but we call help them to lead a much satisfied life, help them remove the barriers to self actualise. My prayers are with Amina! Love you my child, across the world you may be, but very close to my heart...Aiswarya Kurup

  16. What a world this is....really sad...supporting you for all the things you did...I really don't know what to say....but one thing...no use of law for good things in this world....

  17. Sorry to hear of such a horrible experience for you and Amina! Makes you wonder if some humans have fallen lower than you could have ever imagined.
    I was wondering if there is a way the credibility of these so called organisations can be established. Of course it may be difficult in a country that is corruption ridden and people are mostly ignorant and clueless about these scoundrels.
    Its amazing what you are doing amidst such setbacks, you have a quality that outshines everything else. Let this not deter you, you did your best and some scoundrel organisation does not represent the entire community of organisations.
    You are an amazing and inspiring force to all of us.

  18. Respected madam,

    My name is Arun B Krishna, from kerala. I’m a medical student who like to work with prajwala. When i become a docter after 2 years i will be extreme happy if i can help you by giving you medical help. If you like to accept my request please inform me madam

    e-mail id- myheartbreaker@rediffmail.com. Apple.k@rediffmail.com.



    Arun B Krishna

    SUT Academy of Mdical Science


  19. I pray to god for aminas early recovery and may god give you the strength to take this pain on the divine path you’re walking.

  20. Sunitha, may I link to your Blog from my site? We share a common passion - ending sex trafficking and helping heal and return life to the children who may otherwise be destroyed by it.

    Blessings and many supportive prayers,
    Martine E.M.

  21. Sunitha ji,
    I will pray for Amitha. Our prayers are always with you, go ahead ...


  22. It is really a heart touching story, I mean I can't even imagine the trauma that Amina must be going through. You are doing a tremendous job and I would certainly like to help you monetarily as well as by volunteering for your cause.

    I live in Pune, there is this place here called Budhwar peth. Ironically it hosts the most beautiful Ganpati mandir in the whole of Pune and is also a host to more than 2000 sex workers as well. It is Pune's biggest red light area.

    There are lot of organizations like CRY and Concern India Foundation that have come to us asking for donation for helping the rescued sex workers and children from this area. I don't understand that if its a well known fact that there is a red-light area here and small girls too are tortured, why doesn't police uproot them ???

  23. do work on bringing those culprits to justice, doing this in the name of running an organization to help.. sick and tears havent stopped rolling since I saw you TED talk in the morning.

  24. please let us know about Amina's recovery. God bless the child and give her strength. I salute u and your organisation Sunitha for your adorable work! You are God sent (if there is any).

  25. I Wish Amina recovers soon....i am currently staying in manipal...I would like to help but i dont know whether i could be of some help to you....let me know if you feel i can be useful in any of your work...


  26. It saddens me to read something like this happening to a child. And on the other hand there are people like you - who give us hope and through your wonderful work reiterate our belief in humanity.

  27. Please don't let those terrible guys escape! When this post angers me so much, I can't imagine how terrible you must be feeling. And that poor, helpless child! Does God even exist!

  28. Anger.. anger.. anger. Thats all I feel when I read this. Cant even think clearly now.

    I dont know whether to focus on this particular field that Sunitha is focusing on, or think of the larger ills of the Indian society. While we see unpunished outrageous behaviour at every nook and corner, all that the newspapers and masses can think of are:
    1) stupid all-day cricket games
    2) stupid movies without any messages
    3) temples, astrology, etc

    I am not at all proud to be an Indian.

    The only thing I did was offer financial support to organizations that did good. But I am wary of orgs with a religious background now. Recently on "60 minutes", they unearthed a org which embezzled/lied about donated money.
    Slowly losing hope in humanity at large...

  29. i can't c a developed India even after 2020 after reading this post...its d saddest thing tat's happening in India...girls r vulnerable to all such stuff...i feel tat v do not live in an independent n republic country...Amina was a 12 yr old kid...I agree wit all d above ppl above...i have tears welled up in my eyes when i read such things...even two days ago a girl was gang-raped in a train and again was raped in d police station when she went there to lodge a complaint...i proud tat Sunitha Krishnan is actively participating in such stuff...im sure my parents will never allow me to do such stuff because i am a girl and after reading such news my parents would never allow me or even my sister...im proud of the person who is doing this stuff n her team...JAI HO!!!

  30. hai sunitha ,
    i would like to call u sister as i have no sister of my own.i was really shocked on reading this.i have no words to say.i think action is better than words.i would like to join wit u in ur activites.but now it is not possible as i am not at all independent.i have a strong desire in my heart to help u.but i dnt know how .never feel that u r alone .this younger sister's prayer is always with u.

  31. Sunita - Just wanna say the whole world is with you. You are doing an incredible Job.

    There are a lot of us , young blood, who wants to do something but dont see an NGO, a tust worthy one.
    Trust me on that , I have tried a lot of NGOs,but most are just crap. I wanna do something for my brothers and sisters. The poor souls. DOnt want to end up my life in glasshouse,keeping mum to all the miseries. I.like many wanna speak out. Can you help?

    I wish to donate a certain amount every month too.
    Do you have a branch In Delhi?

    Can you help me help?

  32. Hi Sunitha Mam,

    I wish to be a drop of this big ocean of work you are doing. I wish to do something as a human being to other human being who need compassion, love and affection in all forms.

    I am ready to leave my world and join your world and serve the people as a human being.

    My email - harinaaidu@gmail.com
    Number - 001-613-325-6928 .

    Hope you accept my request. Awaiting for your reply with utmost eagerness.


  33. Dear Dr. Krishnan,

    I am writing to you since I saw you TED talk and it has really left me in tears. I do not want to be among those who feel sorry for a day and forget about it. Please let me know how I could be useful in this cause. I was unable to find a better way to reach you.


    Email: srinivas.ranjini@gmail.com

  34. Hi there,

    Today 19-Nov-2010, i saw ur video in Facebook and your speech inspired me to write and publish an article and its all your type-written speech and my message to others. you may find it here @ http://www.scribd.com/doc/43314006/The-Silenced-Truth-by-Swaroop-Thoppil

  35. Dear Sunitha,

    I am so so sorry to hear what Amina had to go through. You are right, most families do not open up themselves and their lives to children who have been through all of this.

    You are an incredible person and an inspiration to everyone who is concerned about this issue, but not taken any steps to help.

    I hope the knowledge that you have made a difference in the way many of us now think about this issue - is useful to you in some way.

    Keep up the good work, and may our paths cross someday.


  36. would like to be of any help tat i can be. we are indeed lucky to have such a wonderful life. is there any i contact ull

  37. Hi Ma'm

    Your self analyzing power and taking every blame on yourself is celestial....characters like u have still exist in the world.

  38. HiSunitha,
    We are so proud of you!
    Keep up the good work.How can I help you?
    I live in the Netherlands.Would love to meet you

  39. Really feel that this world is full of sick phony ba****s, but hats off to you for this amazing work..Since morning am going through ur writings ur work and its really depressing to see the sufferings which "Gals" - "human beings" are going through..
    God bless your organization...god bless ya

  40. Hi Sunita this is very heartening to see that after going through so much in life you are still continuing with the good work..Such people are a real threat to our society..I wish all the best to you!!!

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  42. Can Amina be adopted by a loving family?

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