Sana’s Story: Empowering Communities changing lives around the world
This is a true story about Sana. Although she may seem like an ordinary girl with an ordinary past, the stark reality is far from it.
In the dusty town of Okara in Southern Punjab of Pakistan, roughly 16 years ago a lovely girl was born to a poor couple. Like most families in this region who struggle with affording the basic necessities, Sana’s parents were unable to provide for her at all. Where food is scarce and jobs aren’t easy to come by, the idea of a girl gaining an education is deemed ludicrous.
After her mother died, Sana was abandoned by her father and left as a poor, helpless infant to be raised by her grandmother. Her grandmother did her best to raise this angel but in a tragic twist of fate, a few years later she fell seriously ill, and was left with no option but to give Sana up to a foster home.
Still in the age of innocence of six years, Sana was forced to work in strangers’ houses as a cleaner and an errand girl. This may sound difficult, but this was only the beginning of the horrific nightmare.
At the age where most children are playing with their friends, learning to read and write and wondering what their favourite cartoon or song is, Sana was forced to work from sunrise to sunset in the sweltering heat, scrubbing floors, polishing shoes and running back and forth at the whim of her employers.
This innocent child should not have been working at all, but not only was she forced to work her angelic hands rough, she was reprimanded and chastised for simple mistakes. A beautiful child was being forced to work like a slave and for smallest mistakes, was savagely beaten - beaten with sticks, slaps or anything for that matter which could have been used as a weapon.
Suffering cuts, bruises and even broken bones from being hit with iron bars, life had become hell for a child who had no comprehension of just how brutal her life was. Simply the pain of such vicious attacks was all she was trying to escape from.
That alone would be enough to break your heart, the feeling of rage begins to overwhelm you but unfortunately, the dreadful truth is still worse.
Sana, who was still a child, was subjected to verbal abuse on a daily basis throughout her childhood which destroyed any sense of self-worth she had. She was molested, at the tender age of just eight-years-old, by her employers on a regular basis. However there was no one she could turn to for help.
A child holds all their trust and relies entirely on their parents. This abandoned soul only had a foster family but how could she approach them for help? The family would regularly beat her, abuse her and Sana, aged eight years, was subjected to being brutally raped and sexually abused for years.
Eventually Sana ran away and found her way to Lahore. Too scared to even look at a man she was living on the street begging for scraps of food or pennies thrown her way. This was her life for months until one day, a woman who had been seeing this young girl on the pavement everyday on her way to dropping her children off at school, got talking to Sana.