Of course there are certain areas in Vrindavan where a lot of poor people live. This is how when we went to Kumkum and Radhika’s house or to Vinita and Tejeswani’s home, we just had to walk a few meters to reach Neha’s home as well. We know the now seven-year-old well, as she joined our school already four years ago – when we still had a nursery group for such small children. In this year, her brother Shivam, who is five years old, also started learning at our school.
At about the same time when Neha started coming to our school, the family moved home. They had lived with Neha’s grandparents, aunts and uncles as a joint family but with Neha and her four siblings as well as their cousins, it got a bit tight in the house. So the family built a small home on the family’s property which had previously been used for keeping cows.
This change gave them some more space – but did not improve their financial situation! Neha’s and Shivam’s father is a labourer, working in a shop close-by, moving merchandise from one place to another and running errands for the shopkeeper. He earns 3500 rupees in a month – not even sixty US-Dollar. It is difficult to support a family of seven with this little money!
Knowing this, it was even more difficult for us to understand why the oldest boy, 21 years old, did not do anything to support his family financially! The mother told that he played cricket the whole day long instead of searching for a work with which he could help his father feed the other children. Or go and learn something more to get a better job, as the oldest sister, who had saved money in order to go to college! She is now doing her second year for becoming a Bachelor of Education! She already gives tuition classes and can thus support her studies.
This is only possible however because Neha and Shivam go to our school and don’t need to pay even one rupee for their education – be that for books, school uniforms, pencils or their daily warm lunch. They both have much fun at school and they are also very good in what they do. They just had their exams and both children did very well! And of course, they see all their neighbours’ children at school every day – so they have lots of friends as well!