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Ranjita's Story

FY25 July NL Storypage Hero 2x

Trapped laborer to fearless leader.

Your gift matched to help rescue and restore more survivors like Ranjita.

When Ranjita was 12, her family was forced to migrate for work after a drought devastated their community. She and her two sisters traveled with their parents to work in a brick kiln, but what seemed like an opportunity to maintain the family's financial stability, turned out to be a painful trap.

The kiln owner and his men would force the workers out of their homes before sunrise to make thousands of bricks. The children at the kiln would turn the bricks over and over with their tiny hands so that they would dry faster in the sun.

Ranjita remembers how the owner’s men would repeatedly threaten her parents, saying they would give electric shocks and peel their skin if they were found not working.

“Afraid that they would harm my parents, my sisters and I would turn as many bricks as possible.”

— Ranjita

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After months of abuse, government officials arrived to bring Ranjita’s family to safety. But the kiln owner threatened to harm the children and tried to hide them away. “We were taken to the forest and kept there for many hours … He hit us when we were reluctant to go, and we started to cry,” Ranjita says.

Local officials began a diligent search of the area. To the families’ relief, they found the children in the woods and reunited them with their parents in freedom.

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The kiln owner and two of his associates were arrested. Ranjita’s parents traveled three times to testify in court until the three accused were convicted and sentenced to two years in jail.

With that painful chapter closed, Ranjita worked her way through high school. But personal success wasn’t enough for Ranjita. She started thinking about how she could help other people like herself.

Today Ranjita is a confident, articulate, and fearless young woman. She has leveraged her experiences to become a prominent leader in her local survivor group in the Released Bonded Laborers Association (RBLA).

Mentorship from IJM has made a significant difference in Ranjita’s life and how she sees herself — especially as a young woman with the opportunity to lead in her own community. Your support can help restore more survivors like Ranjita.

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