Currently a junior chef at the Le Cantine restaurant in New Delhi’s Vasant Kunj, 25-year-old Lilyma Khan’s hasn’t always had an easy life. A video by Karwan-e-Mohabbat tells her extraordinary story.
Orphaned at the age of four, Khan spent her childhood living on the streets of Delhi with families who expected her to work long hours as a rag-picker while she tried to overcome hunger and escape unwanted sexual advances.
Khan was rescued from the streets when she was 12 and found shelter in the Kilkari Rainbow Home at Delhi’s Kashmere Gate when she turned 14. Kilkari is a chain of custodial homes that are run by the Aman Biradari Trust, spread across nine cities in the country.
After studying till Class 11, Khan moved on to an apprenticeship she found through the Creative Services Support Group, a charity that provided underprivileged youth with training in creative sectors. She then worked as a staff cook at a Delhi restaurant that has since shut down before eventually being hired at her current job.
Talking about her the change from living on the streets to working as a junior chef, Khan says, “I had never heard the words European or Italian...And going from a slum to walking into a fancy restaurant, there was always a feeling of fear inside. That fear has disappeared now.”
Today, Khan is not only financially independent but also owns a plot of land on which she hopes to build her own house someday.