Anisha shuffled nervously into the clinic, eyes downcast, arms folded across her chest like she wanted to disappear into herself. Her work-worn hands trembled. “I heard that you help people here,” she managed to say.
“Yes, that’s what we are here for – how can I help you?” the community health worker, Jyothi, asked warmly. Anisha bowed her head and said, “I just don’t feel well. My stomach has been bothering me the last few weeks.” Jyothi took Anisha’s hand and said, “Don’t worry, we will figure out what’s going on.” Anisha placed her hands together over her heart in a gesture of gratitude. “Thank you,” she shyly whispered.
After some tests and a virtual consultation with one of DFN’s doctors that same afternoon, it was determined Anisha was pregnant and suffering from morning sickness. “No!” she exclaimed. “This can’t be! What am I going to do?” Having no idea what Anisha’s home situation was like, Jyothi again reassured Anisha that this was a safe place for her; that she was there to help. When Anisha broke down in tears, completely distraught, Jyothi gently suggested that Anisha talk to a social worker. “I don’t think I can do that right now. I just want to go home.” Reluctantly, Jyothi let Anisha go home with some anti-nausea medicine and to process the news that she was going to have a baby.
After just a few days, Jyothi heard a knock at the clinic door. It was Anisha. This time, her eyes were fiery and she carried herself with confidence. At first, it seemed to Jyothi that Anisha had come to terms with her pregnancy. Jyothi said, “Anisha! It’s wonderful to see you. How are you feeling? Are you excited about your baby?” Anisha’s jaw tightened, and she retorted, “No, I am not excited at all. In fact, I decided that I am going to terminate this pregnancy.” Jyothi said, without judgment, “Oh, Anisha, before you make that decision, would you consider talking to our social worker? She will help you process what you are feeling.”
At that, Anisha’s face crumpled and tears welled in her eyes. Her story came pouring out while Jyothi listened with sympathy and compassion. Anisha’s life had been hard from the beginning. Her mother died when she was very young and her father was addicted to alcohol, subjecting Anisha to abuse and violence. Like many in her village, there wasn’t enough income, so at age 10 Anisha began working in farm fields picking vegetables. School was never an option.
While she was still a teenager, Anisha’s smooth brown skin, blue-black hair, and straight white teeth caught the eye of an influential man in her village. He decided Anisha would be his whenever and however he desired. Broken and with no option for escape, Anisha was abused over and over again. The baby she now carried was his, and he wanted no part of this child. And no part of her either, in any real way. He offered to pay for Anisha’s abortion, and in her trauma and ignorant of any other choice, she agreed.
As Anisha’s tears flowed and Jyothi listened, something softened in Anisha’s spirit. She said, “I think I’d like to talk to that social worker now.”
Today, Anisha is the proud mother of a brand new baby girl. She radiates joy when she brings her daughter to the clinic for parenting lessons. And our social worker helped Anisha file a police complaint against her abuser. He was arrested.
Redemption has a face. Anisha and her baby girl reflect it. So do Jyothi and our social worker.
Two lives at risk but two lives saved.
Two lives restored and set on the path to freedom.
Two lives shown the love of Jesus through compassionate care that honours the sanctity and dignity of every human life.
Anisha has wings now, and she’s going to fly high. So is her daughter Ka. In Telugu, their native language, Ka means Brave. Loveable. Beautiful Angel. A fitting name for this cherished little girl.
This is what your support does. Redeems. Reclaims. Restores. Because every life is worth fighting for.