Today I want to introduce you to two boys: Rakesh and Harshit. They are twelve and ten years old and have started learning in our school last July. Let me tell you about them.
Rakesh and Harshit are the youngest of five children. Their two eldest sisters are already adult and married, so they are not living at home anymore. So it is two boys, one older sister and their parents, all five of them in a two-room house. Plus an ox.
Yes, an ox because their father is the owner and driver of an ox wagon. This is what the family income comes from – and it is everything else than stable work. Of course, an ox wagon is often needed here because sand and other material has to be brought to construction sites all over town. But there are many ox wagon drivers and one has to be at the right time at the right place. Rakesh’s mother tells us that her husband sometimes gets no work at all and can do a maximum of three trips a day. All in all, after feeding the ox, which takes about a third of a month’s income, they can make ends meet.
While they thus say that they manage their living, when you see their home, you wonder how they do it on the little space they have: in the smaller room of the house, the three children sleep in one room with their mother. In winter, the bigger one is for the ox – and their father sleeps there as well.
Maybe the lack of space is the reason why the boys prefer spending their afternoons outside. Their mother tells us that they don’t learn much at home and that the boys have only started learning in school since they are at ours. We asked her to explain that a bit more in detail and she told us that the boys have both already been several years at another school – but haven’t really learned anything!
When we heard this, we talked further with the boys and found out that even though Rakesh was in 5th grade in his previous school, he is now in the 1st class of our school because he just didn’t know enough for a higher class! Harshit, who was in 2nd class in another school, cannot even write his name! He has now learnt the English alphabet in our school and will soon learn his name, too – but it gives us another confirmation of our work: cheap private schools which these poor families can afford, don’t have good education.
We will provide these boys with quality education in our school! The boys promised to learn at home as well, to work hard and progress – but even if they keep their lifestyle of playing in the afternoons, they will learn in the mornings with us! Their teachers told us that they both are actually quite good in completing the tasks given, even if Harshit talks a lot and cannot concentrate one a single task for a long time. He completes it however and has already learned a lot.