Surya and Bhuvana are 14-year old girls from the Dalit caste or the “Untouchables” living in Western Tamil Nadu. Discrimination, crippling poverty and family debt meant that Surya and Bhuvana were forced to work at a nearby spinning mill, making yarn for export.

Like girls in all these factories, they were paid nothing upfront or while they worked. If girls leave the mill before three years are up, as most do due to the appalling conditions, they receive nothing.

Girls are kept in hostels, under the tight, secretive supervision of male guards, which leaves them open to physical and sexual abuse. Little or no family contact is allowed. Surya and Bhuvana slept cramped into a 10-foot square room with six other girls, and shared a toilet with 40 others. This situation is illegal.

Surya and Bhuvana would probably still be working in the mill now, but after some girls died from food poisoning, they summoned up the courage to leave. EveryChild was able to help them return to their families.

Both girls are back with their families, and Bhuvana is attending school. EveryChild has now introduced a credit scheme in their village to fund loans and stop families having to send children away to work.

The girls also come to the EveryChild activity centre where the children can play tog-ether and learn. Through initiatives like these we can bring about lasting change to communities.