*Puja is a 14 year old girl with big dreams and a bright future ahead of her.
But it wasn't always this way...
Born to a family living below the poverty line, her mother died when she was very young. Most girls in Puja's village would attend primary school, but not be able to continue on at the secondary level. They'd be married off in their teen years, and would spend their days caring for their young children and working any job they could to help make ends meet for their family.
Born into the cycle of poverty, most girls in Puja's situation would continue in that cycle, and so would their children.
But for Puja, a tragic situation was the very thing that changed her course and set her on a new path.
After her mother died, Puja's father eventually remarried. When her stepmother gave birth to a son, Puja became a target. Her stepmother began physically assaulting her and tried to force her out of the house.
Puja’s father sought help from the village police. Fortunately, they knew of a safe place where Puja could take refuge.
Today, Puja is no longer living in poverty. She's no longer abused and unwelcome. Puja is on a new path!
She is now enrolled in the Career Pathways program and attends 9th grade at the nearby school. She is learning vocational skills like computers and tailoring. Every day she eats nutritious meals. When the time comes for Puja to transition out of her current home, she will have the support she needs to pursue a career.
Puja's dream is to be a fashion designer.
Her future is bright!
Read more about the Career Pathways Program that is helping Puja achieve her dreams!
*To protect her identity, "Puja" is the fake name given to represent the real girl behind this true story.