We’ve gotten to share a lot about the fun things we get to do with our girls here at Seven Sisters, but we also want to let you in on the more serious side of our work. Today, you’ll be hearing about what new girls experience in their first week at Seven Sisters.
As soon as a girl arrives, she is introduced to our other girls and staff. The older girls welcome her with folded hands and a namaskar (hello in Assamese) and tell their names and the new girl shares hers. Then, she is taken upstairs where her belongings are inventoried, cleaned, and stored to be returned in the future, when she leaves our care. She is given new clothes, toiletries, sandals, a diary, water bottle, and teddy bear (which always excites them). The new girl then gets a lice treatment, which we initially were afraid might be distressing. Instead, the girls find the head massage and de-lousing therapeutic, almost pampering. At the same time, a staff member finishes the inventory of her belongings.
Once the new girl is lice-free and in clean clothes, one of our older girls explains our home rules and daily schedule. Depending on the time of day—we receive new girls at all hours—she joins one of the girls’ activities: exercise, class, meals, or free time.
The next day, our case worker asks the girl if she has slept and eaten well and begins to understand the girl’s psychology and personality. She is learning how this girl will fit into our home, what kind of care she’ll need, and what kind of behavior we can expect from her. This continues during the girl’s intake interview. During this interview, our case worker will try to learn as much as possible about the girl’s life story, at least as much as she is comfortable and willing to share. The more we know, the more we are able to help. Often, a girl’s story changes over time as she grows to trust us with the details of her past.
Later during this first week, we take the girl to the hospital for a full health screening. She is checked for pregnancy, HIV/Aids, STDs and STIs, and infections. She gets a chest x-ray and full set of vaccines. We also take every girl to the dentist and optometrist where they have cavities filled, teeth pulled or cleaned, and sometimes glasses fitted.
After this first week, we continue monitoring her personality, behavior, and health to make sure she is fitting in and thriving. We work together—through counseling and life skills—to start her on the road to healing. She is now a part of Seven Sisters Home.