The rate at which girls are abandoned by their parents is alarming, especially in India. According to a national crime report in India, more than 3,500 children were abandoned between 2007 and 2011.
Unfortunately, many cultures see male children as more valuable than female children. In India, this belief has created a society in which there are only approximately 914 women to every 1,000 males.
Girls are often considered a curse and a financial burden. Many families cannot afford the dowry that marrying off their daughters requires.
When one man in Gujarat, India least expected it, he became a hero to a very helpless infant girl. Going about his day, the passerby — who remains anonymous — happened upon an unlikely sight.
Passing by a cluster of bushes, he suddenly heard what sounded like a baby’s cry. When the man investigated, he found a newborn, naked and covered in scratches.
The good Samaritan called emergency services, who were able to give the infant life-saving care. Police believe the newborn was abandoned by her parents.
Medics carefully pulled thorns from the tiny body and made sure she was well-fed. They later announced she was in stable condition.
The infant girl who was left to die in the bushes is comparatively lucky. Many young girls simply go missing and are never found.
UNICEF estimates that more than 50 million Indian girls and women are missing due to female infanticide and sex-elective abortions. The worldview that perpetrates a society in which one gender is better than another leads to these drastic consequences.
There is hope, though. Nonprofit organizations — such as the Invisible Girl Project — are fighting infanticide and abandonment, and spreading awareness of the issue throughout India and the world.
Through non-profits and the help of good Samaritans, perhaps someday infant girls will no longer be left abandoned on the side of the road. Until then, it is up to everyone to help spread awareness.