Julie is the girl in the yellow dress that sits in the background of the picture. Ever since we have known her, Julie has always been in the background.
We first met her some years back when she was around 4. The elder of three little girls, she was already a little adult and a mom's little helper in the true sense of the word. Julie had some delayed milestones and a big growth on her neck, but no one really cared, there was too much to do. We had at that time tried to seek some medical counsel but to no real avail. The family was not interested and we were too new in our job. Then the family moved away and we lost sight of them.
Some months back, the family came back and Julie's dad who drives an auto rickshaw came to us looking for work. At that time we needed an extra vehicle and so we too him on. Slowly the story of his life enfolded. He owed a huge amount of money to the financier he had bought his vehicle from and was unable to pay his installments in time. A month back the financier's goons stopped him on the road and took his vehicle away. Julie's dad was shattered. he came to us for help and we then realised that the poor had paid more than what he had borrowed and still owed a lot more. Apparently each time he had been unable to pay installments, the financier renegotiated the loan to his advantage. The ordeal seemed endless with no real escape for one who earned a pittance. We helped him get his vehicle back. he even had to pay the parking charges for the days his vehicle had been impounded by the vile financier.
Julie's dad's plight is not an exception. It is almost the rule for many migrants who come from their villages in search of new morrows. Financiers lurk like predators and smooth talk simple folk promising them the earth and never telling them of the small print. The poor unsuspecting folk get easily lured and caught in an infernal spiral. The game is on and everyone knows who the winner will be.
One may ask why Julie's dad did not manage to pay his monthly installments time and again. the answer is simple: a medical bill, school fees or a bereavement in the family, any unexpected expense is sufficient to throw the family's finance out of gear. One must also not forget the fact that often the financier is willing to loan the extra money needed. He will simply work out the loan again to his advantage of course.
We will help Julie's dad get out of the quagmire but imagine how many people like him live with a Damocles sword on their heads and no hope of help.
Note: Julie still needs medical help. Her milestones are still delayed. We will do what we can to help her.