I love historical fiction, especially when it portrays the triumph of the human spirit rising above tragic circumstances. It doesn’t get much better than that for me. At the end of a good book, I’m always a little sad to see it come to an end because the characters are so real in my mind. I’ve been cheering for them, and they should live on!

Jaya’s story reads like fiction, but it is real. I have not met her, but she is my sister.  And, although she has suffered unimaginable horrors, her spirit embodies human dignity. Freedom. Hope. Here is her triumphant turn-around story.


At just 14, Jaya’s life shattered. Facing a financial crisis, her family decided she should be dedicated to a horrific life of ritualized prostitution. Jaya’s destiny was to become the property of her village to be used by any man, anywhere, any time for the rest of her life.


Thankfully, one of DFN’s local Freedom Fighters was able to stop her dedication and get Jaya to a safe place where she would no longer fear being awakened in the middle of the night by self-seeking men. In our shelter she learned to sleep peacefully as counselors gently worked the demons from her fears and prayed love into her soul.


Jaya refused to let her past determine her future. As her heart healed, so did Jaya’s mind. Through our network of schools, she graduated from high school, earned a college degree and completed teacher’s training.


As a teacher at one of our schools, Jaya uses her voice to empower other young women. She wants a better life for people like her. And most of all, she wants girls to grow up free from the risk of slavery and free to dream.


The turn-around stories of girls like Jaya is the very reason DFN exists. It’s why we go to work each day, leave our families to travel to India, and determine every day that we will stop one more dedication, rescue one more young girl, extend the promise of dignity and freedom to people society casts aside.

That’s what you do, too, with every donation you make and every social media post you share. Thank you for believing in DFN. But most importantly, thank you for giving girls like Jaya triumphant turn-around stories. Real life is always better than fiction!


Stories are real, all names and photos have been changed for protection, and are representative.