Orphanage didn't even help her take board exam

‘Helping me fill the class 10 form would not have cost much or taken any effort’ 

Garima came to Nirmal Chhaya orphanage when she was 16. She came to stay at the orphanage not because she had no parents but her father subjected her to repeated sexual abuse.

She had been suffering abuse from a very young age. As her mother found it impossible to protect the child, she sent her to an orphanage, expecting better care there.

But life in the orphanage turned out rough as well for Garima. The centre housed twice the number of children it could look after. A bright student, she wanted to study and make a career of her own.

“She wanted to apply for the class 10 exam, but the orphanage officials didn’t even do that for her. She is still not a class 10 pass,” said advocate Khagesh Jha, who is representing her in court in several cases.

“The attitude of the authorities towards the demands of children is callous, though the demands are simple and easy-to-meet. Helping me fill the application for class 10 boards would not have cost much, and does not take much effort too,” said Garima.

Her ordeal did not end here. When she turned 18, she was asked to move out of the orphanage. But her family shut the doors on her for speaking out against her father and dragging him to court.

Her request to be accommodated at a home for abandoned women fell on deaf ears. This meant another court case for Garima. It has been more than  six months and she has been moving from one place to another for shelter, relying on charity.

“The law, which allowed her to stay at an orphanage two-and-a-half years ago, does not consider her an abandoned person now as she has turned 18,” said Jha.

Garima is working with a legal firm in south Delhi as a helper.

Her lack of education is the biggest impediment in getting a better job and a roof of her own.

The name of the girl has been changed.

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