Meet Sonia

Four years ago, Sonia* (20 years old, of the Dalit caste) started going out with a boy from a nearby village (a Brahmin), and they eventually married. Inter-caste marriages are generally considered taboo, even though it has been technically outlawed. "I have gone through hell for marrying the love of my life. I belong to a family where there have never been any love marriages." Their family members did not accept the marriage, and after living together for 3 months, their families worked together to separate them.

Sonia is the oldest child in her family, and her mother has lived and worked in India since she was a toddler. Her father remarried, and her stepmother would verbally and physically abuse her for not doing the household chores.

One day a safe house board member came for a field visit in a nearby village. Some of Sonia's relatives shared about her condition, but her stepmother refused to send her. "I cried a lot. I thought that I was the most unhappy person in the world, and nobody cared about me. My father never listens to me. I felt alone. There was no one with whom I could share my feelings. I really wanted to learn some skill to become independent. I thought there was no happiness in my life."

After a couple of months, with intervention of local leadership, Sonia was able to come to Kathmandu. "Now I am really happy and excited to be a part of the safe house. I wanted to learn Beauty Parlor Course. Currently, I am learning Tailoring Course. Today, I am happy that I can enjoy and learn many things. Everyone loves me a lot and takes care of me."