Today you will get to know Radhika and her sister Shakuntala, two girls of our school as well as their family. It is a big family – and whoever meets them will see that it is not money that makes people happy!
Radhika with her ten years is the oldest of four siblings. Shakuntala, eight years old, is the second daughter, then followed another girl of now three years old and in the end the one-year-old boy who was playing on his mother’s and sister’s lap when we were there.
The girls’ father is an electrician who works at religious programs. When a preacher goes to give lectures somewhere in the surrounding of Vrindavan, he goes along to make the setup of lights, microphones and speakers. This means that he is frequently out at work for a week or ten days. When he comes home, he has normally earned 3000 rupees, about 50 US-Dollars. If he is lucky, he gets to go to two or three such programs in a month. And then there are the months when he doesn’t have work.
When there is no money, they have to rely on the rest of their joint family. The six-headed family are not the only ones who live in their home. The father’s elder brother, his wife and their three children as well as the children’s grandmother all live there together. They sleep in two rooms, they cook in one kitchen and everyone uses the small space in front of the rooms. A shower and a toilet. That’s it for those twelve people on their land.
Nevertheless, they are happy. The children like to play on the road with the neighbour children or the puppies walking around, the women work together in kitchen and home and everyone is laughing and joking. There are times when it gets tough, there are times when the brothers have to help each other financially and there are times when there will not even be a lot to eat for each of them. But: they have each other and that is what gives them happiness.
In school, the two girls are just as jolly. They are not doing outstanding work but they also don’t get bad marks. What they do have are many friends – and it is a joy to see all of them play, knowing that with the education that they get in our school for free, they may have less sorrows to face in future!