BANGALORE, INDIA – Roopa and Banaiah had endured more than a decade of hard labor and heartbreak at a brick kiln in southern India, but today they are building a much better future for their two young children.
Nearly 7 years after they escaped bonded labor, Banaiah and Roopa are still living happily in their hometown in Ramnagara, in the state of Karnataka. Banaiah works at a local agricultural farm, where he earns a fair wage of 500 rupees per day (about $6.50 USD). Roopa stays home with their two children—Vijay and Bhoomika--and looks after the family’s cow.
Based on what they learned in IJM’s two-year aftercare program, the couple has been able to avail several government benefit programs to help families like theirs. One program helped them build a cow shed, which enables Roopa to earn about 6,000 rupees each month (about $78 USD). They were also able to build a new toilet under India’s “Swachh Bharat” program to promote sanitation and public health.
IJM’s aftercare team also helped the family weather the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Thanks to IJM’s lessons on saving and financial planning, the couple had built up 30,000 rupees ($387 USD) to help them navigate the pandemic and stay safe.
Today, both of the kids are also attending school near their village, and Roopa and Banaiah have continued to be confident and responsible young parents, committed to building a strong, resilient, and successful family.