Sixteen-year-old Renuka works twelve hours a day in a garbage dump in southern India, sorting cans, bottles, and glass. Each day she earns about 80 cents, enough to bring a few pounds of rice home to her family’s house in a slum area of the city of Adoni. Her parents don’t work, so she and her sister support the family by working at the dump.She sifts through a lot of trash, but says the needles don’t poke her.
Renuka works every day, including Sunday, because she needs the money. She took the day off on Tuesday this week, however, to travel two and a half hours to receive a package of aid items from Catholic Relief Services (CRS – an American member of the Caritas confederation). Most of the beneficiaries live closer to the CRS distribution site, but Renuka and others from Adoni were added to the beneficiary list even though they are quite far away: not only is Renuka HIV-positive, but her family’s home was destroyed in a devastating flood that hit India a few weeks ago. Continue reading