It is once more time for me to introduce you to two children of our school. They are called Kriti and Sumit, are six and ten years old and have only started learning with us in this year.
When we arrived at their home in April of this year, we entered through a narrow door and then climbed equally narrow steps up to the first floor of the small house. We stood on a kind of open balcony and could see two rooms a bit further back.
Kriti’s mother called her three children and we got to know Kriti, the youngest, Sumit, her elder brother, the eldest brother Manoj, who was already in 7th grade at another school and their father. The parents wanted to send Sumit and Kriti to our school – because they knew they couldn’t pay the fees for all three of them.
The family’s business, which Kriti’s father handles together with his brother, is the production and selling of malas, spiritual necklaces with small images of Gods or Goddesses and the like. At home, they have all the beads, put them on thread, make knots and add the small pendants on them. They have a small cart on which they put their merchandise and go to the side of the road when there are religious holidays.
Vrindavan is a pilgrimage town, so there are many people who walk the Parikrama, the pilgrimage way around town. These pilgrims are potential customers – and the family depends on their purchases for survival. They tell how last year, after a big disaster in a pilgrimage town in the Himalayas, their business went down, as less people went for pilgrimages after that.
Exactly in that time of financial issues, Kriti fell ill with a bad fever. They were in trouble and after spending their remaining money on her medicine, they didn’t have enough left to pay for her school fees. The school did not let her take the yearly exams but sent her out.
That’s how they came to us, hoping that two of their children could join our school and thus relieve the burden on them to pay for school fees as well after the expenses they anyway have.
Sumit is now in our 3rd class and Kriti in the UKG. They are both a bit shy but learn well and once they open up, their smile is huge and it is a joy to see them laughing and learning!