|I asked Nupi to write about this young lady. It broke my heart to see the neglect of girls in India.
“Porima comes from the very small village. She has a father, mother and two brothers. Her parents work as laborers on a farm. They do not own land and get work only when it is available. Meeting the needs of the family is difficult.
Porima went to the local government school in her village but could not concentrate on her studies due to the difficult situation of the family. She failed in the tenth grade (The make or break grade in India) and never made any other attempt to try and pass. She thought she is dumb. Her parents did not encourage her as to them studies is last thing they think about.
When the team for Prakash went for promotion to Porima’s village last year she was very excited to take the opportunity of being able to learn a trade. But the parents showed least interest.
After much persistence and encouragement on the phone the father told the real reason that he would not be able to pay the fees for her education. Feeding the family was much more important to him that education for his daughter. We told Porima’s father that we would be willing to accept her as a student and pray and look for some people of God who will come forward to pay her fees, he was still reluctant. Porima belongs to a Pardhi tribe in this tribe they do not allow their daughters to spend even one night away from the family as the other people think that she is away from the house doing something wrong. No one marries such girl. It sometimes seems very ridiculous to us but it is a fact.
Porima was very keen and happy that there is a place where she can go and study even though she did not pass her tenth. She gave her father a bad time asking him to allow her to come to RGI. Two other girls from the same village were also coming to RGI and that gave moral support to Porima and her father. When her father came to drop her at RGI he said, ‘my daughter is very different than all the other girls of our tribe. She wants to study and go ahead in life, she coaxed me so much that I had to bring her to RGI please take care of her.’
When Porima came to RGI she looked like every other girl to me. But two to three times I noticed that when she came to talk to me in the office she would put her right hand on her waist and talk to me, I let go in the beginning. But her voice tone was high as she talked and her standing with her hand on the waist made me think that she is being arrogant even after being at RGI for a month. I asked her to put her hand down and stand straight and talk, with tears in her eyes she said, ‘Madam I can’t straighten my arm it is stiff.’
Then she told me. ‘After my exam I had gone to my uncle’s house for vacation (mother’s brother) I fell down as I was playing my arm pained a lot but no one took me to the doctor, even after coming back to my own house my parents said it will be OK you will get over the pain. We did not go to the doctor the pain did subside after a few days but since it had held my arm in one particular position because of pain it did not move as it used to before after my fall. I feel I have become handicapped because of it.’
Porima was taken to the orthopedic doctor in RGI who after taking an X-ray said, ‘this girl had broken her bone and it has now healed in a wrong position and locked her elbow joint. If anything can be done it would be a surgery which will take at least three months of recovery and physical therapy.’ Porima so dearly wants to be normal again. So does her father long for his daughter.
In India we sometimes say the world is small we may meet anybody known anywhere; Porima is from the village that Nagesh comes from; and Porima’s father went to school with Mr. Barde former Prakash student in a Catholic hostel. (Mr. Barde was the first Prakash alumnus to won his won car.) When we were able to connect him, both Barde and Porima’s father made it a point to meet each other.
We have noticed a tremendous change in Porima since she first arrived; it was very difficult for her to follow rules in the beginning, now it has become a habit. She is a much calmer person now. She takes keen interest in the Starting Point and Bible class. She says, ‘I held the Bible in my hand for the first time. I had never even seen one but now slowly I have started understanding the writings in it. I learned how to grow in intimacy with the Lord, how to pray and walk on the right path. I understood the difference between right and wrong. I learned manners, discipline and proper way of talking. I have learned what it is to love each other at RGI.
I had come to RGI to learn only tailoring but I got to learn spoken English, exercise and many other things. I love the food at RGI. I am touched by the fact that if any of the girls fall sick we are taken to the doctor immediately and are taken care of. All my teachers are very good and I am progressing in RGI now I have started liking the rules.'”
Loren and I were very taken with this young lady. She was trying so hard to do her work, but you could see how difficult it was for her. We have arranged for her to have surgery after the term ends. She will remain at RGI for the 3 months of recovery and physical therapy. If she went home they would not be as strict as needs be. Nupi will make sure she keeps up with the treatments. Now all we need are the funds for the surgery.
BTW Solomon has just had another surgery. The doctor is trying desperately to save the eyeball.