“I went to work to break stones, while my son was at home dying.” Mohan
Mohan is from a poor village in the north of India, five hours walk from a main road. He lives with his family in a small mud hut. At night they sleep side by side, on a torn plastic mat on the floor.
The hut’s thatched roof leaks – when it rains the family gets wet. Mohan struggles to provide his family with even one meal a day.
Mohan loves his family and does everything he can to support them. Every day he works, hour after hour, breaking stones in a field earning less than $1 per day. If he doesn’t work, he doesn’t get paid and his family won’t eat.
One day Mohan’s son Ari became ill. His condition could have been easily treated in a few days, but there was no hospital in their village. The nearest hospital was a full day’s travel – a five-hour walk to the main road followed by a four-hour bus ride.
“If I took Ari to hospital, my family would have no food and his little brother could have starved to death.” Mohan
His wife Diya was not strong enough to carry their sick son, especially with a toddler in tow. Mohan was faced with an impossible choice – take his eldest child to the hospital and leave his youngest child to starve, or to continue going to work and feed his family.
After harrowing deliberation, Mohan and Diya decided that the family could not afford for Mohan to take time off from working in the field. They had no savings and no way to feed the family if he did not work.
Mohan kept going to work each day while Diya tried to keep Ari as comfortable as possible, hoping for a miracle. He spent the day breaking stones in the hot sun, while his son was at home dying.
Sadly, a miracle did not come soon enough for their son. Ari died in his mother’s arms, on the old plastic mat on the floor.
No parent should be forced to choose which of their children will live – but this is the cruel reality faced by the poorest, most marginalised people in the world.
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Pictured: Ari, Mohan’s son