India: Vellore Malika’s home

Malika’s Story

Photo of MalikaOne of nine children, Malika lived with her biological mother and siblings until she was 4 years old, when they were removed by DCFS and placed into several different foster homes.

“My mom was on drugs,” said Malika. “My grandma was supposed to help her take care of us, but she passed away.”

Malika and her older sister were placed in three different foster homes before being adopted at age 5. Malika initially found comfort in her adoptive home, but the honeymoon ended quickly.

“I didn’t understand why my mom had given us away,” Malika said. “I turned my bad thoughts into actions, and started fighting and getting bad grades at school.”

While Malika’s school life was spiraling out of control, her older sister, just 16 years old, found out she was pregnant. Fearing that Malika would follow in her sister’s footsteps, her adoptive mom sought help from their parish priest, who referred them to Mercy Home.

The 14-year-old moved into Mercy Home with some reservations. “I didn’t understand why l was here,” Malika confessed. “I directed a lot of my anger toward the staff.”

Before long, her outlook began to improve. Malika credits her program manager, Monti Clayton, with helping her change her attitude.

“We had Malika look at herself from the inside out—where she’d been, where she was and where she’s going,” Clayton said. “We spent quality time with Malika to make her see that we are people she can depend on.”

This included therapy sessions, which helped Malika let go of the anger she had toward her biological mother. Malika now understands the benefits of living at Mercy Home and why she’s here.

“It’s hard living at Mercy Home, but when you look at teenagers today getting shot at, living on the streets you realize what you have,” Malika said. “I have a much better chance of fulfilling my dreams and making them a reality.”

Malika looks toward her future with big aspirations. The high school senior has hopes to study early childhood education in college.

“Mercy Home taught me that everyone is going to have a story, and my story only makes me stronger,” she said. “I look at what all these people did for me, and I feel like I should give another kid a chance.”

Mohandas Gandhi

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”


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