Today I would like to introduce you to Usha and Priti, two sisters of a quite big family!
Usha is, with her 14 years, the oldest of seven children, followed by Priti, who is 13 years old. They have another five younger siblings and, how could it else be, all of them, except for the youngest, are girls. I have written so often about it, it seems so common to write these lines now: the parents had child after child, hoping for a son. A son who will remain in the family, who won’t marry and move out, who will continue the family business, keep the family’s name alive and take care of the parents when they are old.
The daughters? They will be raised with love and married when a suitable husband is found. Their dowry cannot be too big though – each of the girls has another five sisters who also need to get their share! And the fact that their father doesn’t earn a lot at the small general store that he runs doesn’t increase their chances either.
They still have time however until they are legally allowed to get married anyway. We asked the mother, as we know of experience that the law is not always the guideline for poor families like theirs, when she is planning on getting them married. She replied that she would like these girls to first study and not marry before they are 18 years old – an answer which we loved to hear!
If they stay on this point, and we will try to make sure that they do, the girls and also their brother can keep on learning with us, absolutely free of cost! Usha and Priti enjoy coming to school, now to the 4th and 3rd grade – and they have lots of friends.
One of them is their cousin. That is no wonder, she also lives in the same house! Usha’s father is one of seven brothers. Of these, four live in one house together, of course with their families. The house is not very big however and that’s how all nine members of Priti’s family have only one room together. They often decide to sleep outside in the courtyard or in their grandmother’s room instead!
In the same way, as they support each other by sharing their living space, they also share their food and income! The four brothers have not separated their money from each other and that’s how they all live together, sharing whatever is there. Usha and Priti’s father contributes about 115 US-Dollars to the income, if the shop is going well.
The family has a small field as well, which provides some of the vegetables that they eat but it is not enough. It was bigger once but the river has flooded big parts of it and didn’t retreat anymore, which is the fate of many farmers whose fields are too close to the river, on land that has not been officially approved.
It is a simple life, sometimes good and often difficult but now we believe that the family’s children have a good chance for a better future! You can help this become reality by sponsoring a child or the food for a day!