But For the Grace of God

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-3-12-29-pmPrisha’s story is as unforgettable as her infectious smile. Her life began precariously. Prisha’s mother was severely abused by her father, even during her pregnancy. When Prisha was born with a cleft lip and palate, her father’s anger was so great that her mother feared for Prisha’s safety and fled with her to her parents’ village.

When Prisha was two years old, her father asked her mother for forgiveness. With the promise of change and a new life, they returned home. Yet nothing had changed.

One day, Prisha’s mother returned home from work, and her two-year-old was nowhere to be found. Searching frantically, her attempts to find her daughter enraged her husband. Terrified for her baby girl yet unable to find Prisha, she felt hopeless and once again took refuge with her parents. She soon learned that Prisha’s father had sold the toddler to a gang in Delhi for $60, where she was put on the streets to beg. Her mother rushed to Delhi, and through nothing short of a miracle, she found Prisha. She managed to purchase her sweet girl back from the gang for $30. With Prisha tucked safely in her arms, her mother took refuge in her parents’ home.

That same year, Prisha’s grandfather found a flyer for the CICM-LEAP cleft palate camp in Damoh. In February 2009, after a long journey, the family finally found hope when they met the LEAP team. LEAP surgeons determined that her health was too poor for surgery. She was given a plan to improve her health and was strong enough the following year for the first of two procedures on her cleft. The second surgery was performed two years later.

Prisha returned to school and now lives with her mother and her grandparents. Her father is not allowed to visit her or to travel to the region. Through the grace of God, Prisha is safe, and her life is finally normal.

[For her protection, ‘Prisha’ is a pseudonym, meaning “beloved, God’s gift”. For the same reason, she is not in the above photograph.]