Katie McCabe's Blog

Kajal's Story

Another thing I’m going to try about blog about every so often are the backgrounds of the children we are working with, because understanding their stories makes us appreciate our work with them so much more. I’m going to start with Kajal, who, as I have mentioned before, is blind. Kajal is blind because when she was very young, her mother poured acid into her eyes and the eyes of her sister before sending them out into the streets to beg. (If you’ve seen Slumdog Millionaire, then yes, it’s exactly what happens in that movie). But even after being blinded, Kajal was still not earning enough money begging. So one day, her mother took her to the train station and pushed her onto a train. Thank God the train was headed towards Allahabad, and thank God the conductor knew about SOUP, because he called Joy when the train pulled in to Allahabad Junction. Joy of course took Kajal in.

Today, Kajal is 7 years old, happy, healthy, and even on her way towards restored vision, if SOUP can raise enough money for her second round of surgeries. (She traveled to the United States for the better part of 2008 for the first round). My first instinct when I hear her story is to wrap my arms around her and just hug her to remind myself that she is safe and OK. My second instinct is incredible anger at the mother that could do this to her own child. But my third reaction is to remember that I can never imagine what it would be like to be in a situation where I could not earn enough money to care for my children. Judging Kajal’s mother doesn’t solve anything. She should never have had to make the decision between torturing her child and watching her starve. So my final question is what needs to be done to ensure that? And what kind of a role did a lack of education play in this scenario? How is Kajal’s education now going to impact her life?


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