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Father Sacrifices All for Daughters to become Family Firsts in Higher Education


Father Sacrifices All for Daughters to become Family Firsts in Higher Education

Once struggling to make ends meet, survivor Sanjeevi now beams with pride. 10 years ago, he was rescued with his wife and children from a life of bonded labour in a brutal rice mill. Today, he stands tall: knowing his two daughters will be the first in the family to pursue higher education.

"I will do whatever I can for my children as long as I am breathing” - Sanjeevi, IJM survivor.

We know that when IJM supporters, teams and survivors take courageous steps of love, there is a knock-on effect that can be felt for years.

Back in 2005, IJM supporters like you chose to take a step of love that sent courageous IJM teams to find and free Sanjeevi and his family from brutal slavery in a rice mill.

When Sanjeevi, his wife and their daughters were rescued, this dedicated father was determined to give everything he had to ensure his children didn't end up back in bonded labour. He took steps of love, day in, day out.

“Money was still not enough,” recalls Sanjeevi. “I did everything I could; working in fields, carrying loads, anything that kept my family from bonded labour.”

His persistence paid off. He saved enough money to enrol this daughters into school. We just heard that his eldest two, Devi and Devika, have now successfully completed their studies! And his youngest, Devianni, is working towards her exams.

Devi and Devika understand their father’s sacrifices: “From a very early age, we have seen our parents endure hardship. We have cried at the many atrocities our father had to face for our sakes.

“Our father never says no. Whether we need new books or clothes, he always provides. He tells us that we should never give up studying. We work hard because of him. This is our way of giving back for everything he has done for us.”

Sanjeevi and his wife Murugammal went to work in a rice mill to earn money. But were soon tricked into debt by the rice mill owner, who would often hike up the amount he claimed they owed. Any questions were met with verbal abuse and threats.

“The pain we experienced cannot be put into words” says Sanjeevi. “The rice mill was in a remote place with no buildings nearby. Even if I wanted to ask for help, where would I go? Whom would I complain to?"

Devi and Devika began assisting her parents at a tender age. With tattered clothes and unkempt hair, the sisters spent their childhood in the desolate rice mill having no contact with the outside world.

“There have been days when my girls have cried themselves to sleep from hunger. It really broke my heart,” remembers Sanjeevi.

After six torturous years, Sanjeevi, his daughters, and his wife who was pregnant with their third child, Devianni, were rescued from the rice mill by government authorities with the help of International Justice Mission.

Over a decade later, we celebrate together with the family knowing their girls have passed their exams and now they’re looking forward to attending college.

Sanjeevi’s dreams of an education for his daughters - that once felt so impossible - have finally been made true.

“I still don’t have enough for their college education, but I know that I will do whatever I can for them as long as I am breathing.”

Because of your support, IJM was able send help, and because of Sanjeevi's courage and determination, his family's future is one of safety and hope.

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