Today I want to introduce you to a girl of our school who looks quite young but is actually isn’t among the youngest of her class! Her name is Pooja and she is six years old.
When we arrive at their home, we see a brick wall which is the border of their property, an iron gate and leading up to it a small hill which looks like a mixture of bricks, sand and cement. It is a makeshift alternative for stairs.
We arrive in a courtyard and see Pooja, her father, grandmother and two of her three siblings. Pooja herself is hanging on her sister’s arm, shy. They sit down on their bed, a wooden frame with a woven surface in the middle – it is easy to just move it wherever you need a place to sit.
Pooja’s father is a labourer, working on construction sites and wherever else physical work is required. For that he has to go out and search work every day. In good months, he gets work on 25 days or even more. In those months he earns up to 120 US-Dollar. There are other months, too, however, and if he only earns 75 US-Dollar, the money at home is tight. With the expenses for four children from six to ten, it gets difficult to make ends meet!
This leads to tension in the family – and two years ago led to a fight in which Pooja’s grandparents told their son to separate his money from theirs and care for his family himself. They live together – one of the two rooms belongs to Pooja’s parents and siblings, the second one to the grandparents and Pooja’s uncle. They cook in the same kitchen – but each part of the family buys and eats their own food.
With three children going to other schools, the family was very happy to have the possibility of free education at least for their fourth child. This and the free warm lunch are a support which will help them cope and especially help their daughter get a better future!