Today I would like to introduce you to two new children of our school! Their names are Sudhir and Mahak and they are seven and five years old.
These siblings live in the new government colony on the outskirts of Vrindavan, which was created especially for poor people. It consists of several big apartment houses which altogether contain about 700 flats. These were allotted to poor people for free who now have a home and don’t need to struggle for their monthly rent.
Sudhir’s family of five got one of these flats. The children’s parents came to Vrindavan twelve years ago, from a close-by town, in search of work. They did find work but unfortunately were not as successful as they had hoped. Over the years, Sudhir’s father has been working throughout but has not been able to earn more than what was needed to feed his family. The family has no earnings whatsoever for emergency situations! That’s how it has been so good for them to get this flat!
Although they didn’t have any water in the tabs until two days before we came, even though the water that comes now is salty, even though they have to either fight to get their turn at the colony’s only drinking water tab or fetch water from far away, they are happy: they don’t have any costs for rent! It is their flat and even if the month’s income is low, they have a place to live in.
The income of the family varies greatly each month! Together with his brother, the father shares a petrol rickshaw. They rent it together, sharing the cost and driving in two shifts: one in the morning and during the day, the other one in the evening until the night. As this doesn’t bring enough money, the father of three also buys old, worn clothes, washes and irons them, and then resells them in their colony. The outcome of this business always depends on the quality of clothes they get.
The eldest daughter is ten years old and goes to a cheap primary school. Sudhir had started in the same school but the teachers kept on telling the parents that he was not intelligent enough and didn’t learn anything. They didn’t have a lot of money, were struggling to pay the monthly fees – and thus decided that there was no sense to keep Sudhir in the school!
Now however, time has come for Mahak to start school as well. From neighbours, the parents had heard of our school and are elated that they now can send both younger children to our school for free!
Mahak and Sudhir have been coming to school for the past three weeks and they have been enjoying the time like never before! As expected, we had a very different feedback from our teachers regarding Sudhir: the boy definitely learns – if you make it interesting for him!