News from Jerry and Marilyn

Untitled1Sunita and her husband, Ramesh (not their real names), are part of our “Empowering the Poor” project.   Since the project began last October, they’ve built a network of new friends in several poor communities near their home and have already had some success helping them.  While visiting in December, they met a young woman named Kamini and learned her painful story.  Kamini’s parents had been bonded laborers and had recently died in a bus accident.  Although officially outlawed in 1976, bonded labor remains widespread among the extremely poor in her country.  Because her parents’ debt had not been paid off, the lenders, backed by their caste community and even local police, sought to make Kamini responsible for the debt, a common practice for multiplying debt bondage across generations. Finding herself harassed from all sides, Kamini had no choice but to flee her village and escape to where she eventually met Sunita and Ramesh.  Ramesh immediately sought help from local police as well as government and legal offices, filled out forms and prayed. Over the weeks that followed, Sunita and Ramesh were able to help Kamini recover her family’s meager belongings and win release from their debt.  They were even able to help her find a simple job.  When it was all over, they asked Kamini if she had a picture of her parents.  She didn’t have one, but replied, “You are my parents!”

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