Today's story comes from India, where Amit and his family have undergone a remarkable journey from the darkest depths of poverty to a sense of renewed hope and freedom from potentially tragic outcomes -- like street begging and dangerous labor.
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Amit’s family moved to New Delhi from a rural, impoverished area of India to try to start a new life. Upon their arrival, they moved into a small hut in a slum area. His father sold vegetables, and the family managed to scrape by.
But life turned to chaos when the slum was destroyed and its residents were kicked out. Amit and his family were forced to go live on someone else’s property.
The family was still struggling for survival when Amit’s father, Chabilal Shah, became gravely ill with jaundice. The family spent their remaining savings on medical treatment but, tragically, Chabilal Shah passed away.
“We were all alone and left to fend for ourselves,” remembers Gulabi, Amit’s mother. “We were reduced to the level of a beggar. I used to plead and beg people for $1 just to sustain ourselves.”
Gulabi sums up the level of their desperation: “No one around us cared if we had things to eat or not. As a mother, I was upset that I was unable to provide basic meals for my children.”
Many children in Amit’s position would have quit school to beg in the streets or work in a risky job in a quarry of leather factory. He would have been one of millions; in fact, India has the largest child labor force in the world.
Not knowing where to turn, Gulabi would have lost all hope -- if not for her children…