When I was reading Kalavati's story, I had to stop and think what it would have been like to make my son, at the age of 8 work beside me as a day laborer just so that we might have the possibility of two meals a day. Imagine a childhood that doesn't include being a child, imagine a child having to assume adult responsibilities in order to survive.
Then I finished reading the story. This young girl's life was totally disrupted when her father started suffering from mental illness. That's bad enough in anyone's life, but from out western perspective, it gets a little strange. "One day someone performed witchcraft on him, causing him to become mentally disturbed".
A mentally ill father who eventually disappears for over a year, and when he is found is still obviously ill, not enough money for food let alone medical care for Dad and education for the children, and a host of other problems eventually lead Kavati's mom to seek work in a nearby big city. (Actually the neighbors made the decision for her, since the ill husband was often violent, she was forced to relocate). She worked long hours and young Kalavati worked beside her, but even that wasn't enough to ensure 2 meals a day.
The day came when Mom had had enough and decided that death was the only alternative: she was planning on taking her own life. But about this time some Bridge of Hope members started visiting the family. Even when told that this family didn't believe in God, they kept going back, and their gentle presence made a difference. They were able to help the mom find a job, they helped find medical treatment for the dad, and finally Kalavati is allowed to be a child again. She is enrolled in a Bridge of Hope school, and now when she works alongside her mom, it's because she wants to do so.