Malini (centre) is a clever and strong young woman who, together with her mum, works hard to feed and clothe themselves. They take what’s left to pull together a shelter they can call home.

Malini spends everyday searching the local filthy rubbish dump for plastics to sell. She is what they call in Delhi a “rag-picker”.

Ever since she was young, Malini, like so many other young rag-pickers, was seen as an easy target for police under pressure to quickly find someone to blame a crime on. She was picked up by the police when she was just 8 years old, taken away from her mum and unfairly imprisoned in a desperately run down jail.

Malini came to our attention when she joined a pop-up classroom project running street education programmes that we fund. We were able to nurture and support her and eventually instil her with the confidence and provide her with the means to enrol in school.

She is now the leader of a national organisation  – Badhte Kadam – which champions children’s rights, using her own background to help others when they get in trouble with the police.  She wants to continue developing this work and dreams one day of becoming a social worker supporting the next generation of underprivileged Delhi children.

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