travel bursary reports
I have been back from India for almost two months now, and I am still amazed when I look back at the time I spent there, and at how faithful God was, and how much He taught me.
I spent 17 months in India in total. 17 months living and working in a foreign land, in a culture unlike my own. 17 months being challenged and stretched; yet also experiencing indescribable joy and love through it all.
I tried not to have any expectations when heading to India, that way I would be better placed to adapt to whatever I found. And what I found far exceeded any expectations I could have ever set. My main motivation for going to India, for serving, for getting involved in the fight against human trafficking using the legal skills I acquired in university was love. Love for this great, big God; love for His people, and indeed a love for justice. And when I went out there, I found that it was not only an opportunity for me to put love into action and grow in love; but also to receive love.
The colleagues I worked with were so happy that I would come and work alongside them, that I would come and join them in this fight. They were so happy to have me come and join them, to be in their lives and work alongside them even before they met me, and even when they knew absolutely nothing about me; yet they loved me joyfully all the same. Even the clients we worked with and rescued were so full of joy to hear that people would come from halfway across the world because they care about them.
My colleagues were so full of love, they just radiated the love of Christ. Despite knowing that all us volunteers and interns come and go, they loved each one of us wholeheartedly, welcomed us into their homes, their families, and their hearts; and it was a very humbling thing to be surrounded by such love.
In terms of my work, I spent most of my time based in the office, supporting a team of brilliant Advocates that would go out every day and fight to ensure perpetrators of human trafficking offences were brought to justice. However, even in the office, the work could sometimes be challenging or even daunting. Particularly when drafting important documents that directly impacted the lives of the people we work with, such as when working on bail objections to ensure that traffickers are not released on bail to continue abusing the rights of others or to harm the victims that have been rescued from their oppression; or when working on closing arguments to summarise the case we’d put before a judge and convince him that we had proven the offenders’ guilt.
With this challenging work came great rewards. One of the highlights of my time out there, and indeed I believe for the office as a whole, was when we saw four perpetrators of bonded labour trafficking offences convicted in two different cases on the same day by the same judge! In a country where it is said that it is more likely for a trafficker to be struck by lightning than to be convicted for their offences, this was truly a monumental day and a reminder of how good God is. Furthermore, it was an encouragement to over 60 victims that had been trafficked and oppressed by these 4. Through these convictions, the victims were able to get the justice they didn’t always believe they would get, and many would-be offenders were hopefully deterred.
Even though we had to be extremely patient and continue trusting in God when the judgments were continually postponed (in one case the pronouncement of the judgement was continually adjourned for a period of over two months!), in the end He reminded us that He IS faithful, and fighting against the oppressor is His work.
We saw further evidence of His faithfulness and His powerful hand in the victims that were freed. In 2015, we were able to rescue over 400 people from bonded labour trafficking. 400 people that were trapped in bondage, now walking in the freedom God created them to enjoy and being supported as they rebuild their lives.
One final thing I experienced and witnessed while in India was incorruptible beauty. One example of this was when I got to spend time with rescued clients. My most memorable occasion was when I spent two days looking after around twenty children at an Aftercare graduation. All rescued clients are invited to be a part of the Aftercare program post-rescue, which is a two-year program where a social worker works closely with them and their family, helping them rebuild their life, helping them get the children into school, and obtain any government benefits. After two years, they then have a graduation when they complete the program, and would at that point hopefully be strong enough to stand on their own, so as not to become dependent on us. So at this particular graduation, I was playing with these wonderful children, in the hottest weather I have ever experienced in my life, eating the spiciest food I have ever tasted (but that’s another story). And I was truly overwhelmed – these kids were so full of joy, so smart, so mischievous, and so child-like, which is exactly how they should be. Looking at them, I couldn’t even imagine the pain, abuse, and suffering that they and their parents had gone through two years earlier, and the horrible situations they had been rescued from. Looking at them, I did not see their pain, or their suffering, I only saw joy, happiness, and kids enjoying their childhood. Just like it should be. And that is the incorruptible beauty. That is the reason I went out to India.
Thank you very much for supporting me in this journey, both prayerfully and financially. Through financial provision, prayers, and grants such as yours, I was able to extend my time in India and respond to the need for staff.
Read our reports from those we have supported through bursaries!