As a young girl, Papamma loved school and had dreams of continuing her studies, but she was abruptly pulled out of classes as a young teen and was asked the question: “How are you going to support the family if you only want to study more?”
Papamma’s family was struggling to survive day to day, and they needed everyone in the family to work in order to make ends meet. When her older brother got married in 2011, the family needed funds to cover the religious ceremony, and a local brick kiln owner agreed to loan her family the money they required.
In order to pay him back, Papamma, her brother and her new sister-in-law agreed to work for him and use their earnings to pay off the debt. They didn’t realize that the kiln owner had no intention of ever letting them go.
They were not allowed to leave the kiln or go home to visit their families. Instead, they were forced to make 1,200 bricks a day—every day—under the scorching sun.
On top of the demanding physical labor, violence was common.
Everyone endured beatings and verbal abuse, and Papamma remembers the day the owner took her mother-in-law by the hair and dragged her in front of everyone, where he repeatedly kicked her and beat her head.
When Papamma became pregnant, she did everything she could to stay healthy, but in her sixth month she realized her baby had stopped moving. She managed to make it to a local hospital where she was told she had suffered a miscarriage.
Papamma remembers, “I have never experienced another week like that. The owner did not allow my husband to come to the hospital at all, so I was all alone.”
But a year later, in one quick moment, everything changed for Papamma and her husband when police and government officials showed up…and put the kiln owner into a police car.
At that moment, Freedom Partners like you made it possible for IJM staff to help bring Papamma and the 15 other laborers to safety, give them a hot meal and make sure every survivor received an official release certificate—formally breaking the false debts to the owner and declaring them as free!
Your support as a Freedom Partner helps survivors like Papamma long after their day of rescue.
IJM staff were able to help each person return safely to their hometowns after years of exploitation at the kiln. For the next two years, IJM aftercare teams supported Papamma and her husband through a rehabilitation program, and they continue to mentor Papamma as she gets more involved in local movements to end slavery. In fact, she has just taken on the role of President of the Released Bonded Labourers Association in her community!
“We are now living the lives we once thought we could only dream about,” Papamma says. Despite the fear that she would not have any other children after the miscarriage in the kiln, Papamma now has two children and can’t wait to send them to school for a proper education, which she believes will be the foundation for a successful future.
Today, your Freedom Partner gifts are already hard at work,
helping protect people like Papamma all around the world.
In 2020 alone, Freedom Partners made it possible for IJM, trained government officials and partners to rescue more than 8,500 people from violence.
We are so thankful for you, and we’re committed to regularly sharing these inspiring stories of rescue, restoration and protection so you can see your impact in communities around the world.
Change is possible because you are standing with us and doing justice as a Freedom Partner. People just like Papamma and her family are being found, rescued and restored with your support.