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NOT A RAGPICKER ANYMORE

6-year old Chandni lives in Bengali Basti along with her mother and four siblings. Her family migrated from Nurraiya Colony, Nainital around 7 years back due to family problems. Her eldest sister is married and the other one works as a domestic help in a nearby kothi. Her father expired around seven years back after which the family had a difficult time making ends meet. All the land that her father owned was eventually lost as it was kept as security for loans which could not be paid off. Her mother, Anjana Das works as a rag picker. Though they have a house at their village where Chandi’s elder brother stays now, but due to these problems they had to migrate. Her family finds it difficult to survive with the meager income as it goes into paying for various bills such as water, electricity, house, etc.

We first met Chandni when she was busy rag picking along with her mother and brother, Rohit. Just as we came closer to her place of work, she said to her mother, “This madam comes from that yellow bus, I too want to go and study.” The educator told Chandni’s mother about the MLC. She requested her not to send Chandni for work all day but to send her for a few hours at the MLC as well. Her mother said, “Madam, I too want my children to study but we first have to feed ourselves. Ever since their father expired, we have been struggling to survive. For now, I cannot afford to pay their school fees.” The educator then told her that the MLC is for free. Her mother on getting to know this said, “I will be happy to see both Chandni and her brother Rohit going to the MLC together. I hope soon they both can be going to school like other children.”

Chandni comes to the MLC along with her brother. They come regularly. Chandni is very shy. She did not interact much initially with other children coming to the MLC. She likes watching educative cartoons and can recognize all Hindi and English alphabets. She can count upto 30 in English. She wants to study more.

She was mainstreamed in 2nd standard in a Government school in April 2014. Whenever her mother meets the educator, she thanks her and says that she wishes that they can change the lives of other such children as well.

*This project is a part of “Mobile learning centre” program supported by Microsoft India.

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