Basanti was found on the street by an elderly leprosy patient who looked after her until WIN relocated her at the charity’s shelter in Dattapur. Basanti had left home one day; just walked out leaving the life she knew behind. She said she came from Rajasthan, although later we found out that was not true. For nearly five years, she was reluctant to respond and spoke very little about her history or family. We came to believe that she had a learning disability and well as being diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Over the years, Basanti grew more communicative, willingly contributing to daily life at the shelter and becoming an active member of the community there. However, it wasn’t until recently that she began sharing crucial information about her past, enabling us to contact her family and organise for them to meet her in Nagpur.
Her family revealed even more information, providing us with a clearer understanding of why she might have left home. Basanti had an arranged marriage at the age of 21 to a man who turned out to be abusive. When she was seven months pregnant, he continuously beat her until she eventually lost the baby. She moved in with her parents but this trauma likely led to the development of schizophrenia that resulted in her walking out. Though her husband remarried within six months of her leaving, her family continued to take care of her. As soon as she went missing they filed a report with the local police.
After five years, Basanti was finally reunited with her brother and mother in our office. They travelled from Indore, 450km from Nagpur, to meet her and to take her back home. It is moments like these that inspire us to keep fighting on behalf these neglected and ignored women. We want to provide the opportunity for them to live with dignity and hope. Each successful reunion demonstrates that with patience, love and care we can produce positive change for individuals, their families and their communities.