Today I want to start something which has been on our minds for quite a while already: we want to introduce our school children to you, one by one. The new school year has started on 1st July 2013 and with the new school year we have started visiting our children’s homes again. This time we decided to take pictures and some videos, too, to show you who our children are, who their families are and where they live.
We start with Shivam, 10 years, and Kanhaiya, 9 years, whom you can see on the photo above together with their mother. She had come to Vrindavan 25 years ago together with her husband. Here she gave birth to their five children, three boys and two girls. She raised the children while her husband worked as a street vendor, selling snacks and hot food items at the side of the road. This income had to feed the family of seven. Money was tight but they managed to put a bit money on the side for marrying their eldest daughter. They found a suitable husband for the second daughter as well and found her, with her 14 years, just right to get married, too.
Then however they suffered a blow of fate. Shivam’s father fell ill. Doctors diagnosed jaundice and started the treatment, much too expensive for this family. They spent all of their savings on the treatment, the medicines, the tests and fees of the doctors. At the same time they were still preparing for the planned wedding of their daughter. The festivities had started, the first joyous ceremony took place and on that day, only twenty days before the wedding, Shivam’s and Kanhaiya’s father died.
His death changed the life of the rest of the family. There were thirteen days of mourning and seven days later a wedding. But there were more tears of grief than of joy. The eldest son, who had visited a school until the sixth grade, had already left the school because he didn’t like being beaten again and again. He had been working here and there but now he had to start taking responsibility for his younger brothers.
Now, at the age of 21, he earns 3000 Rupees per month together with his mother. They work for a family, he is helping in the kitchen and she cleans the house. They are allowed to live in a room next to that family’s home and have to use this little money, approximately 50 US-Dollar in a month, to eat, buy clothes and whatever else is needed for four people. It is not much and by far not enough to send the two younger boys to school, to pay their school fees, their books, their uniforms, pencils and other school utensils.
This is how this hard-working mother came to our school two years ago, asking us to take her sons and teach them. In our school they are now learning, both in the second class, and their mother does not have to give even one rupee from the small money that she earns. A warm lunch fills their bellies in midday and she has another worry less.
She, herself illiterate, knows about the benefits of education. Already now, she does not need the help of neighbours anymore to read and write letters – her sons can do it for her! She hopes that with their schooling at our place, the children will be able to find a better job in future.
In the past two years we have seen these two boys grow and progress, supporting them along with the other children of our school. You can help us with this work. Become Shivam’s sponsor or Kanhaiya’s sponsor and thus contribute in helping them and many other families in similar situations!