Today I would like to introduce you to another newly admitted child of our school: Dolly. Dolly is five years old and lives, together with her mother, father, brother and extended family, in a poor area of Vrindavan where a lot of our children come from.
Upon entering in Dolly’s home, we first have to figure out who is who. Just as in most Indian families, various members of the joint family are at home and additionally a few curious neighbour children as well. Finally we have it sorted out however: there are five rooms in the home as well as a spacious courtyard. It is the house of Dolly’s grandparents. Dolly’s father is the eldest of four sons. The second son is married as well and so there are altogether ten people living in this house.
With further asking, we find out that Dolly’s family however only has a room in the home but that the family’s finances are separated: Dolly’s father has to earn his own money for his expenses. It is not, as usual in a traditional family, one pocket into which everyone adds their money and takes it out from.
It is however not an unusual occurrence nowadays either. The eldest son had never earned a penny in his life until his wedding when his parents told him he should start supporting the family’s household as well. He slowly started taking labour work but really never went to work regularly. That’s how about two years ago, Dolly’s grandmother had enough and made a change: from that day on, they should earn their own money for covering their expenses! They had, after all, two children now as well, Dolly and her one-year-younger brother. And the grandparents still had to marry two of their sons – where should they take the money from?
That’s how Dolly’s father had to start going to work seriously and earn his own money. As a labourer, this means that he earns about 60 US-Dollars a month, a bit more if he gets more work and less if he doesn’t find work. They just about make ends meet.
The biggest challenge here is however that Dolly’s state of health is not stable. She has suffered from tuberculosis and has been taking medicine for the past six months. They have just stopped giving her medication but have noticed that she again started coughing – and has problems with digestion as well. With paying for the girl’s doctor visits and medicine, they have had some difficulties financially which Dolly’s grandmother then covered. They will have to go to see a doctor to have her checked again now.
In all this, they have heard of our school and have been lucky to be among the first to come on the admission date so that they could secure a spot for Dolly. From July on, Dolly will go to our school, completely for free, relieving this burden from her parents’ shoulders! Of course we will also follow up on what happened with her medical check-ups and make sure she gets the treatment she needs!