Neeli was born to a poor family that lived in a slum on the outskirts of a big city. Her family subsisted by selling necessities from a small cart. Neeli's father sent her to work in a rock quarry when she was about 9 years old. Her life in the quarry tedious and inhumane. For upwards of 12 hours a day, she broke rocks with a hammer and transported the rock chips out of the way. At night, she huddled with other girls under rags they used as blankets to avoid freezing. She knew that other girls were often molested by supervisors and security guards, and she lived in constant fear of assault.
In the Spring of 2020, she was rescued and brought to live at The Sylom Children's Home. Today, Neeli plays basketball with her friends and attends school. She sleeps in a safe, dry and warm place. She is also a member of the school choir and has quickly learned the most popular hymns. Someday, she hopes to play competitive high school basketball with the best girls from her district.
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*The name used is a pseudonym to protect this child’s identity.