It is Friday again, time to introduce you to another of our school children. Today it is Manoj’s turn. Manoj is ten years old and lives with his mother, elder brother and elder sister in a small house in one of the poorer areas of Vrindavan. His father is not alive anymore.
Three years ago, Manoj’s mother tells us, life was still very different for this small family. In fact, it was more normal. Her husband, a labourer, would go to work in the morning and come back in the evening, bringing home his daily salary with which they could buy food and pay their rent. It was not a lot but they could manage. Manoj’s mother would take care of the children and the household.
Then her husband suddenly fell ill. He had pain all over the body, sometimes fever as well. He went to see a doctor and got some medicine but it did not help. His pain continued and he consulted the doctor again. Tests were made, money was spent but his doctor could not find out what it was. A few weeks later, the disease had taken his life and the mother was alone with three children. Was it a serious disease that the doctors had not recognized? Were the doctors incompetent and could his life have been saved? Nobody will ever know for sure.
She turned to her family for support and since then her parents, her brother and one of her sisters send some money for her whenever they can afford it and when she is in most need. She tells us that her body doesn’t allow her to do much work but doesn’t want to go in further details. Her sister had also married into Vrindavan and the two decided to move closer together.
The family is now living for rent next to Manoj’s aunt in a small house with three rooms, one of which is occupied by a female buffalo. Manoj’s mother collects the buffalo’s dung, dries it and sells it – cow dung is what a lot of people use here for making their cooking fire. A tiny bit of the expenses can be covered by this but it is hardly worth mentioning. They hope that once the buffalo had a calf, she will give enough milk to be able to sell it and earn a bit more.
Manoj of course remembers his father and misses him as well but he does not fully understand the consequences yet of having lost the bread-earner of the family. He keeps on asking his mother for a little pocket money to buy some sweets or snacks, as other children also do from time to time.
His mother tells us how happy she is that he can now go to our school – not having to pay his school fees, his books, uniform and all other stationery means for her that she can sometimes fulfill her children’s small wishes for a treat.
Every day Manoj comes to school with his cousin Tinku, whom you already got to know. With his ten years he is one of the bigger children of his class, the second pre-school class in which children learn reading, writing and the basic counting before they can go to the first class. The teachers tell that he is fast in the mind and catches up new words and information very quickly.
It is great to see that we can give these children and their families not only a financial relief from the burden of educating and feeding their children but also provide the education that can, in future, make a big change for them!
If you want to support us in our effort to help these children, you are more than welcome to sponsor a child or the food for a day and thus contribute!