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Finding Pushpa – an emotional reunion after 7 years of searching

Wanted to share an uplifting story and video clip from Usha’s recent visit to Women in Need - Nagpur. Pushpa was 18 when we first discovered her. It was 2008 and she was sitting on a curb bordering Nagpur’s red-light area. She’d paused to catch her breath following an altercation with the ticket collector on a train from Raipur. Found without a ticket she got off at the next stop – which was Nagpur. A matter of minutes had passed when she was spotted by a member of our team who intuitively though she seemed out of place and vulnerable. And she was vulnerable because with only 10% hearing and difficulty communicating, Pushpa could easily have been forced against her will into prostitution. In our care we learnt of her troubled life. Through her tenacity to communicate we “heard” and understood that she’d watched her father murder her mother as a child. Immediately afterwards he re-married a vindictive woman who regarded Pushpa a burden because of her impaired hearing. It was for this reason that at 18, her marriage to a man in his 60’s was arranged against her wishes. Held at knife point by her father Pushpa fled the ceremony and ran for her life. She boarded a train in Raipur station and hid until she was discovered 5 hours into the journey. For 8 years in our care, Pushpa was a much-valued member of WIN’s shelter for abandoned women. She supported other rescued women who’d suffered trauma at home and then later, on the streets where they were left, exposed to further abuse and disease. Pushpa LOVED to dance! Moving to the beat of the music she brought joy to all around her with her exuberance for life and that wonderful smile. Eventually Pushpa fell in love with Gautam, a driver at the leprosy colony where our shelter was situated. Though Gautam had deformity caused by leprosy nerve damage, he was fortunate to be employed at the colony. Pushpa had our support and blessing to meet Gautam but after he lost his job due to excessive drinking, he and Pushpa eloped. Over the course of 7 years our efforts to trace Pushpa came to nothing and we had given up the possibility of finding her. We knew life for both of them would be hard, not least because of his drinking, but also because they each had a disability that could make it difficult to find decent employment. Well…after following a recent new lead Usha did find Pushpa. Though life has indeed been tough, we are really excited to look at how we can improve their circumstances, enabling them to provide a better future for their children. (Gautam was away attending a funeral at the time of filming but we are happy to hear he has stopped drinking). 0:00 / 2:40

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