While we celebrate Mother's Day tomorrow in fancy restaurants and appreciate our moms with various gestures of love, we hope more people will also remember the moms in India whose lives were taken from them through violence, abuse and dowry demands, and the children they left behind.
This is why Daughters Of Tomorrow exists. To provide employment to women communities to ENRICH their lives, not exploit them nor use them callously with no regard for their welfare or safety. You can help too - with your consumer dollars, choose to spend them with social enterprises buy purchasing their products rather than from large corporations! Click here to read more
Near the metro station sits a woman of uncertain age. Her hair is dirty, her head bowed in grief.
The woman sits on the dirty floor and next to her lies a bag. In that bag people throw money. In the hands of the woman, asleep, is a two year old baby. He's in dirty clothes.
Numerous passers-by will donate money. Our kind of people always feel sorry for less fortunate. We are ready to give unfortunate people the last shirt, the last penny out of our pocket without hesitation.
I walked past a beggar for a month. Did not give any money, as I knew that this is a gang operated scam and money collected by the beggar will be given to whoever controls beggars in the area. Those people own numerous luxury properties and cars.
A month later, walking past the beggars, as shock, it suddenly hit me.
I'm at a busy crossing, staring at the baby, dressed as always in a dirty track suit. I realized that it seemed odd, finding a child in a dirty underground station from morning to evening.
The baby slept. Never sobbed or screamed, always asleep, burying his face in the knee of a woman who was his so-called mum.
Do any of you have children between the age of 1 to 3? Do you remember how they are unable to sleep more than 2 hours at a time? However, these kids are always asleep. Always! Therefore my suspicion grew.
"Why does he sleeps all the time?" I asked, staring at the baby.
The beggar pretended not to hear me. She lowered her eyes and hid her face in the collar of her shabby jacket. I repeated the question. The woman looked up. She looked somewhere behind my back, tired with utter irritation.
"F **k off", her lips murmured.
Behind me someone put his hand on my shoulder. I looked back. An old man was looking at me disapprovingly: "What do you want from her? Can’t you see how hard she’s got it in her life." He gets some coins from his pocket and throws them in the beggar’s bag.
The beggar portrayed a face of humility and universal grief. The guy removed his hand from my shoulder and strolled out of the underground station.
I bet, at home, he will tell how he defended poor, distraught woman from a soulless man in a tube station.
Next day I called a friend. From my friend I managed to find out that this business, despite the apparent spontaneity, clearly organized. Its supervised by begging organized crime rings.
The children used are "rented" from families of alcoholics, or simply stolen.
I needed to get the answer to the question – why is the baby sleeping? And I received it. My friend told me in a calm voice, "They are on heroin, or vodka"
I was dumbfounded. "Who is on heroin or vodka?! "
He answered, "The child, so he doesn’t scream. The woman will be sitting whole day with him, imagine how he might get bored?"
In order to make the baby sleep the whole day, he is pumped with vodka or drugs. Of course, children's bodies are not able to cope with such a shock. And children often die. The most terrible thing – sometimes children die during the "working day". The "mother" must hold another dead child on her hands until the evening. These are the rules. And the by passers-by will throw some money in the bag, and believe that they are doing a good deed. Helping a single mom.
The next day I was walking near the same underground station. I stocked up a journalistic identity, and was ready for a serious conversation. But the conversation didn't work out. But the following happened.
A woman was sitting on the floor and in her hands was a child. I asked her a question about the documents on the child, and, most importantly, where was yesterday's kid, which she simply ignored.
My questions were not ignored by passers-by. I was told that I was out of my mind screaming at poor beggar with a child. In the end, I was escorted out of the tube station in disgrace. One thing remained was to call the police. When police arrived, beggar with the baby disappeared.
When you see a woman with a child, begging, think before you donate. Think about that, if it wasn't for your hundreds of thousands of handouts, businesses like this would have died. The business would die and not the children. Do not look at the sleeping child with affection. See horror. Since you're reading this article, you know now why the child is sleeping in beggars hands.
This phrase caught my eye "the children are rented from families of alcoholics or stolen."
It brings us back to empowering rural women financially. If they have a job and can feed their families (and they are the ones who do cos the men are usually the alcoholics) , they would not have to "rent" out their children for money.
Please support social enterprises like Daughters Of Tomorrow www.DaughtersOfTomorrow.com who are working hard to address the root of such problems.
We are going to visit one of these widows' shelters in June - to understand, to reach out, and hopefully to lend these elderly women a voice through Daughters Of Tomorrow so that the future for the next generation of widowed women can be less bleak. - Nicky Loh