I stand in the courtyard of a small dark house in the village of Ulail, Dalautpur. Doors and windows are closed. I manage to look through a small opening in one of the windows and see a few chicken scraping around.
The door is opened by an old woman and I enter. I notice a plank of wood serving as a bed, a rope hanging from wall to wall as wardrobe and a cage. In the cage stands a girl of about 14 years. Her name is Joti. She suffers from an autism-related illness. Both her parents work in a ready-made garment (RMG) factory. They have left Joti at home with her grandmother. Tired but with endless patience grandmother takes care of Joti who needs assistance with almost everything. Recently she was told about the nature of the ailment of her granddaughter and she also gets some support from the visiting field team.
Unfortunately grandmother is unable to provide the orderly and well-structured life that Joti needs. She is forced to lock Joti up or tie her to a rope when preparing a meal or when going out to work in the field. If not Joti would escape and annoy the neighbors with her screams and noisily jumping up and down. Now that the neighbors know the nature of Joti’s illness they show a bit more compassion but still they are afraid that Joti may bewitch their children and drive them crazy.
Grandmother is happy with the assistance she receives from Niketan, but she is worried about the future, when she herself gets too old. Who will take care of her granddaughter? Despite the daily struggle grandmother will always remain fond of her lovely little girl!
Help us to give Joti a better life, with your donation of 11 euro a month we can continue our support to her and her grandmother.