Today, a day after Apra’s birthday, I will introduce two of the many boys of our school to you whom Apra knows by name because they are often at the Ashram and play with her and the Ashram boys. It is Krishna and Shankar, 14 and 12 years old and in the 6th and 4th class of our school.
They live, together with their elder brother and their parents, in a building which is locally just known under the name ‘the guesthouse’. It is a big courtyard with about twenty rooms surrounding it on three sides, which were originally rented out to tourists and pilgrims. For many years however there have been families living there, one room per family. They all use the common toilets which may seem dirty and run-down to Western people seeing them but which are a luxury for the people living there. At least they don’t have to go to toilet on the open street or out in the fields!
When we visited the family the last time, they were living in another room than today. In between, the manager of the compound had changed and had evicted some of the families. When management changed again after a year or two, they were allowed to return and moved into another room. For the children, this living situation is great: they have their friends among the other children who live there and can play in this safe zone.
The parents are happy for the children – but believe that the rent that they have to pay, nearly 20 US-Dollar per month, is much too high. But what to do, they need a place to stay and tell us that they don’t find another good one for less money.
As Krishna’s father is a security guard however, his salary is only about 50 US-Dollar. His eldest son is in training to become electrician and doesn’t have an earning of his own yet. Clothing for three boys and themselves, household items, food and all the other things that you need money for, that all needs to be bought which leads to the fact that by the end of the month there is not much money left for saving, although they dream of having their own home one day.
That’s how they are happy that their two younger boys can learn and eat at our school for free. They have been with us for the past six years, starting in the lowest classes. While Krishna was doing a lot of nonsense when he was younger, he has grown into a responsible teenagers whom the teachers like to put in charge of different tasks, such as distributing food or taking care of younger students. Shankar is a bit calmer than his brother – and also receives praise by his class teachers for doing proper effort in school.
We will be happy to support these boys further throughout their school career, just like their classmates and schoolmates. If you would like to support us in this effort, you are more than welcome to donate, take a child sponsorship or sponsor the food for a day!