It’s the season of caps and gowns, Pomp and Circumstance, and celebrating the bright futures of graduates everywhere. Here at DFN, we’re celebrating our newest class of young adults ready to take on the world. Today, their eyes are sparkling at the unending possibilities that lay ahead of them. For some, it’s pure excitement. For some, it’s bittersweet.

For one of them, Anusha, today isn’t just a graduation.

It’s a day that signals the dismantling of the very system she was born into. A day she is set free.

When Anusha came into this world 18 years ago, her future was sealed in the cycle of ritualized sexual slavery. Her mother was trapped in an ancient illegal practice, dedicated at a young age to become an “asset” of the village: abused, shunned, and powerless. When Anusha was five years old, she was being prepared for her own dedication into the same future.

Thankfully, one of our social workers successfully intervened. Anusha was rescued and brought to our shelter, where she would be given a safe home to live in, nurtured and supported.

She would also be given a top-notch education — an opportunity to re-write the story which was placed upon her life. Quickly, Anusha began to learn, guided by caring teachers who encouraged her, affirmed her, and were invested in her success.

Today, 13 years later, she has risen to the top of her class.

Anusha’s dream is to one day sit for the Indian Administrative Services program, influencing and literally re-writing government policy to protect and defend vulnerable women, just like her mother. Just like she might have been.

So as we celebrate graduates this spring, we’re celebrating students like Anusha, who are transforming their circumstances into stories of renewal and triumph.

Will you celebrate with us?