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Real Life Heroes
Living in India will always be one of the most beautiful and vital experiences in my life. While trying to adapt to my new home in Europe, my mind often wanders back to the rugged streets with the torn up sidewalks, the swelling heat of the sun, and the food--which at times was either my best friend or worst enemy. But most of all, my mind travels back to the incredible people, which has resulted in my love for the beautiful but difficult country. After my first journey to India, I didn’t want to return because of the overwhelming amount of poverty, corruption and ill treatment of women. That quickly changed when I was offered an opportunity to support a small team of heroes. A team of people who were risking their lives every day to rescue slaves from the horrors of bonded labor, a task that is often romanticized.
The reality of fighting injustice is that it is a long and hard rollercoaster that has its glorious ups and its very dark downs. Yet, joining this difficult but crucial fight has taught me the beauty and importance of perseverance. That there is hope in the most difficult and desperate situations.
A strong and influential lawyer, a woman, led this team of men and women. A woman who has been threatened on various occasions with violence, rape and even death. A woman who refuses to let fear rule her, but choses to persevere in a land where women are often seen as property and unequal to men, where female infanticide is rampant.
The image of following this woman storming through a slave owner’s facility and rescuing people who have suffered for generations, will remain imprinted in my mind and heart as I—a woman—continue to seek justice for the oppressed. I remember government officials and police officers arguing with her to leave, even plotting against her, but she refused to give up. She refused to give up because of her compassion for people and hope of a better future.
The team taught me that change is always possible. In fact, it is inevitable when people refuse to give up hope and have compassion. There is always a light, you just have to choose to follow it.