Leela’s father died when she was very young. She has two older brothers and two younger sisters. Her mother had to work very hard to bring up five children with at least the minimum education. While two brothers worked in a factory, the mother and the three daughters were employed in the coir industry. Leela is the oldest among the girls. She was about to get married. She met a boyfriend when she went our daily to work. One day after collecting her salary she ran away with the boy. On his part he was planning to cheat her. Both of them moved around together, only for two days, after which to Leela was afraid to return home and thus fell into the company of some women sex workers. Soon she found herself in the prison. There she learned worse things than before. She picked up bi-sexual behavior inside the prison. She met Rugma (whom I have already mentioned) there and became close friends. They went in and out of prison together for a while. Leela is very quiet and shy. She was afraid of her brothers. She did go home one day with her friend. But her bothers didn’t allow her to enter there.
Leela in the Ashram
Constantly harassed by men, they realized their lives weren’t safe or respectable. Leela and her friend Rugma decided to change their way of life and came to the Ashram. Leela was afraid to reveal the truths about her life. But slowly we helped her to air her feelings. She spoke well of her mother. On paying her family a visit we realized her mother had no objection to take her two sisters refused to talk to Leela.
Leela was given all the chances to learn some skills. She was also encouraged and helped to read and write, so as not to forget the basic education and received. While in prison, Leela had learned weaving skills. Leela and opportunities daily for attending classes, counseling, prayer, meditation and games. After a few months of the renewal programme, Leela was encouraged to go home.
Leela was rehabilitated back in her own home. Her mother was happy to have her. In the beginning Leela found it very hard to cope with the situation, since the other members of the family were not communicating with her. Her mother took her for work again. Thus Leela was soon an earning member of the family. We did keep in touch. We went to visit her at home. Leela came to see us in the Ashram. Once when we went to see Leela, she was looking after her mother in the hospital. Her mother too expressed gratefulness to us for taking care if her daughter. The fact we had visited her in the hospital made a big difference to them. By then her family members also reconciled with Leela. This made Leela in turn very happy too!
Leela visited the Ashram regularly at least once a month. Once she even bought two of her friends to show them the place where she lived and the home she loved so much. Leela continues to go work regularly with her mother and sisters. The mother is also looking out for a boy to settle her in marriage. Leela had been at home for the last 4years. We wish Leela and her family all the best in the future. 1997- Leela has gone to the Gulf to work and earn for the family. One of her cousins took her there. 2004 – She is married and well settled in life.