Educating the Poor in India – 25 Sep 08

Charity

Today I was talking with my brothers about the Kindergarten and the school and I would like to describe the circumstances and the situation here in my diary. Until now we were sponsoring and helping children in other schools so we were not that much aware of the things that we are facing now with our own school.

But first of all I would like to give you an idea of the situation here in India. You might know that in India according to statistics 34.62% people are illiterate and not well educated. If you have a look on our ‘sponsor a child’ website you can read that many children have seven or eight brothers and sisters. Many people are surprised when they read this but it is not unusual here. And this also poses big problems here in India. The population is growing immensely. We know a lot of people in the town, some also working in the Ashram, who have a very big family with many children. But why do these people, of whom you know that they are actually poor, have that many children?

Once I talked with one farmer and asked him why he wanted to have even more children. He explained me: “Oh, if I have many children I do not need to hire workers for the field. We all can work there and we do not need to pay anyone.” This is their concept but they do not think more deeply about how much they invest and have to earn to raise these children in a proper way. Of course they love their children but they do not see any problem in having them work on their field or in their shop instead of sending them to school. The parents themselves have not been to school and do not see any necessity in sending their children there. And you see, due to their own lack of education the parents don’t send their children to school but want to have more and more children. The overpopulation and the boom of growing population in India thus have the root in the missing education.

Of course contraceptives are not used either or very rarely. They will say that children are given to you by God. They do not see any sense or are even irritated by the idea that they could prevent another pregnancy. But imagine if one of their children or maybe all of them went to school and learned reading, writing, maybe English, then they could have the possibility to have a well paid job, a proper and nice house and they could take care of their old parents nicely.  Education is very important and we are trying to give this possibility to as many children as possible. I will talk more about this in the next days.

The situation with the flood got worse today.  One of my friends sent a donation but doesn’t want to be named so I would like to thank him here. Tomorrow we will use that donation to cook food and pack it in boxes to distribute it. 

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  1. Tabitha

    It is sad that they aren’t more interested in their children’s education, but really understandable why it wouldn’t make sense to them. As anyone who lacks funds they need to survive- the immediate needs being met are the first instinct to fill. looking ahead must be really difficult.

  2. Emily

    I guess I understand why these parents would feel that way. But I think they are staying stuck in this situation by keeping their kids at home to do hard labor instead of getting an education. The progress of the world is moving very rapidly. In other countries, it is very necessary to educate your children so that they become self-sufficient and independent. Some day, they can help support you with their finances. This may work for some Indian families now, but they are staying stuck in their situation rather than moving forward. Eventually, there may even be laws restricting the number of children you can have, like there is in China.

  3. Eli

    You can understand why these parents feel the way they do. It must be hard convincing them of the benefits of education. but maybe when the see the result in others they will start to agree to.

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