Today I want to introduce you to another boy of our school: Shivam, seven years old. He is a boy whom his teachers describe as a bit shy. When he leads us to his home, it doesn’t seem like that at all though!
We enter the gate and are first of all surprised: it is a nice, spacious garden, surrounded by walls and some rooms which would, as we assume at first, give space to at least five families. There are however only a few kids playing and we see only two adults, a man and a woman.
We get to know that the woman is Shivam’s mother and the man is his uncle. Two of the kids are his younger brothers, the rest are neighbours who came by to play. Shivam’s family is the only one living on this property.
They don’t own it though, they are renting it – and keeping it clean. This is their arrangement with their landlord and the property owner: for about 16 US-Dollar a month, they are allowed to use two of the seven rooms and they keep both lawn, the two rooms and the pathway clean. The remaining five rooms remain locked.
The three boys’ father is a plumber. He doesn’t have steady work and usually works together with contractors who build new buildings. Of course, in winter time there are more houses built and he thus usually has more work – at other times, he has to search and try to find work, which is not always successful.
That’s how Shivam’s mother says ‘Well, we are doing alright’ but looks at her four-year-old and her three-year-old as if she doubts that the future could bring anything more than ‘alright’. The four dollar that her husband earns on a work day may pay rent, bring the food and the clothes for the kids – but it doesn’t cover unexpected expenses and not school fees either.
That’s how our school is a relief for them: Shivam has already started learning with us for free and both his younger brothers can join us in future!