It is time again to introduce you to a child of our school! Today it will be a boy who started studying in our school in July last year: Yogesh. He is ten years old and, like all of our children, comes from a family that lives in poverty.
When we reached the street that they live in, we saw a lot of children playing out on the road. Some women came closer, curious about who we were and what we were about to do. We told them we had come from Yogesh’s school and they started praising the school, asking whether we would take their children as well. They complained highly about the education in the state schools where their children were learning – because according to them, the children reached a higher class every year without increasing any of their knowledge. We told them the dates for new admissions for the school year 2014/15 and then asked Yogesh to show us his home.
Yogesh is the eldest of three children. His younger brother and sister, six and nearly five years old, were excited about our visit. There was not much to see – the family has one room, one kitchen and a half-closed entrance hall that was maybe someday intended to be another room. The front porch, where we talked, is used for showering and drying cow dung as fire material. The wall that separates the property from the road is not finished and the door frame stands out as the highest point of the wall.
The walls were all built by Yogesh’s late grandfather. He was a mason, just as his son is now, but he never finished the walls that he had started raising for his family. Now Yogesh’s grandmother lives with the family of five and the burden of feeding all mouths is on Yogesh’s father’s shoulders. It weighs heavy – especially because he also has diabetes and thus cannot always go to work!
He has been to a doctor and gets medicine but he can only take it when he has money for it! This means that whenever he is fit enough to go to work, he earns money with which he first buys food and then medicine. If there is not enough money left, there is no medicine. Without medicine, he often feels too ill to work – and then cannot earn money for more. It is a vicious cycle and they try to cope with it as well as they can.
What they are happy about however is that they don’t need to think of paying school fees for Yogesh while knowing that he will learn properly in a good school where he even gets tasty food.
Yogesh, he loves the food! He is in the first grade of our school and when asked what he likes about school, he says ‘lunch’. His teachers tell however that he is interested in the lessons as well – so we are looking forward to see how much he will learn in the course of the next years!