sapnaShe was barely 5 when she first joined the special section. It must have been in 2004. She could barely walk or talk. She was like a tiny frightened bird that needed to be tamed. As days went by and we got to know her better the smiles came hesitant at first then bigger and bigger. And a few steps and some sounds. The ice was broken. It would not take long before Sapna was like a fist in water in the special section of Project Why. But all was not well for her mom whose story breaks your heart. Do read it. It is the story of too many women in India.

Sapna was happy at Project Why but came the day where the family moved and she left. There was no news. We hoped for the best and prayed for her well being.

A fews days back her father came to the Project. The news was terrible. Sapna’s mom had passed away in March. She had suffered enough. The father asked us if we would have her back and the answer was a loud YES!

So Sapna is back. She is 16 now and really small. But her smile is there larger than ever and she was so thrilled to see us all. She walks now and even speaks. It  is a delight to have her back and her old pals Umesh and Anurag are thrilled.

For us it is bittersweet: a gentle reminder of the fragility of her existence. What if something happens to her father? What if he remarries? Endless questions with no answers. A visit to her home was heart wrenching. The family had very little. Her brother Monty has turned for the worse. He told us that he sold ‘slippers’ from midnight to dawn. He seems to have been targeted by predators.

For the time being Sapna is with us. We have convinced Monty to come to the centre in the morning and study some. Though he has paper saying that he has studied till class VII he can barely read or write.

How much will we be able to do for these two lost souls is anyone’s guess but we will give it our best shot. Sapna will be safe with us during the day. We fear for her when she is back home.

Once again the critical need for a residential option like Project Why comes to mind. It was for the Sapna’s of this world.

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To the manor born