Today I want to introduce you to two of the smaller children of our school: Shashi and Hemant. They look small but their parents actually tell that they are already eight and ten years old. Like all our school children, they come from a poor home.
When we entered their house, in an area where lots of our school children live, we were surrounded by children. It took us a few minutes to determine who belonged to the house, to the family and who were neighbours and friends. In the end however, we had Shashi, Hemant and their parents sitting on a bed in one room. Their elder brother, 13 years old, was not at home.
We got to know that the home belongs to the children’s grandparents, who live with them there as well. They had four sons, all of whom also live in the home. Two of them are married, one of whom is Shashi’s father. The other married brother has two children as well, so all in all they are thirteen people living together – in a house that has two rooms, a small kitchen, a toilet, a small chamber where they keep ox food and an inner courtyard. That’s it. Living, cooking, eating, playing and washing of 13 people, all in this space!
They cannot afford more. The children’s father is an oxwagon driver, earning approximately 50 US-Dollar in a month – when business is good. When it isn’t, income is less. The other three brothers are also labourers who don’t earn much. They all earn their money but spend it for the whole joint family together. That’s how they manage their living costs – for one of them alone, it would be too difficult!
That’s how the family could only put their children in a low-quality private school. They hoped to get better education than in the government school in which, as they heard of their parents, children only went through the years without learning much. They didn’t have a lot of money but tried to do their best by choosing a school they could afford. Soon they noticed that their children didn’t really learn a lot there.
When they heard from neighbour children who went to our school, they also came for admitting Shashi. The had already reached the 2nd grade in that school but in ours, she had to start from the smallest class. Within the one year that she has been with us, she has learned so much however, that the family decided to admit their son with us as well.
Now Hemant and Shashi are both learning in the UKG, the second pre-school class of our school. School doesn’t mean anymore hours of sitting around bored while teachers are chatting with each other and it also doesn’t mean getting hit when you forgot to do your homework. Now, school is fun – and that’s how kids learn best!