ENSLAVED at EIGHT
Mallesh was trapped at an Indian rose farm and forced to pick thorny flowers until his small fingers bled—but freedom came when supporters like you helped rescue him from slavery.
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“We had to work or they would beat us and scold us.”
Scars covered Mallesh’s small hands, and fresh cuts from the week’s labor left them raw and swollen. He and other boys toiled under the hot sun to pluck roses with very little food or sleep. If they made any mistakes—a broken stem, too much water—they were beaten.
“We cut the flowers, put them in a bucket, and pack to send. Then we have to work. We loosen the soil beds, fertilize the roses, and we cut the flowers. There were a lot of thorns. Our hands used to tear and bleed.”
Other laborers at the farm would drink alcohol constantly to numb their pain. This hopeless life troubled Mallesh deeply and left him dreaming of freedom.
Everything changed in 2013 when Indian government officials and IJM staff rescued Mallesh and four other boys from slavery on the rose farm. He was finally able to rest even though he could not return home. Now he goes to school because of our generous supporters.
Today, Mallesh is an intelligent and sensitive 15-year-old. He’s thrilled to be back in school and using his once-wounded hands for his new passion: writing.
“When Mallesh arrived at the school, he didn’t know how to read or write. He didn’t even know how to hold a pen in his hand,” shares the school’s headmaster. “He is one of our brightest students and our fastest learner...He will often stop playing to write his thoughts. Writing is his favorite thing.”
“Now I want to study. If there is homework, I want to do it!” Mallesh says with a bright smile. Support and encouragement from IJM staff has Mallesh making bright plans for his future.
“You are freeing people, I also will free people. Thank you for bringing me out. Thank you very, very much. I am free. Thank you.”
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