An IndiaSpend analysis of indicators on literacy, school enrolment and learning outcomes across four BIMARU States provides a confirmation of IIMPACT’s decision to work in these areas.
It is indeed very hard to digest narratives of young village girls being separated from their families and sent to nearby cities to work and to bring in additional income to their impoverished families. Typically the work they get involved in is that of a domestic help, earning a mere pittance – an amount often much lower than the prescribed minimum wage, often mistreated and physically abused.
Nine year old Hasi Khatun’s story is no different. Hasi, a resident of Sujagolpur village in South 24 Parganas.lost her father while she was studying at the local IIMPACT Learning Centre in class 2. Her mother was left to support 8 children, tirelessly working long hours as domestic help in a nearby city home. A well meaning relative suggested they send young Hasi to nearby Bihar to do the same kind of work for much needed additional income.
This phase in Hasi’s life was no less than torture – she swept, swabbed and washed clothes daily. She slept on the floor. She was not paid and was often mistreated by the employers. She was occasionally both verbally and physically abused by the employers in small but painful ways. If she accidentally broke an object in the house while cleaning she would not be given food for a day- a form of retribution.
When the Teacher and members of the IIMPACT team got news of Hasi’s plight they confronted her mother who reluctantly divulged the truth describing their compulsion to send Hasi out to work in order to add to the family income. Hasi’s mother was advised and she was gradually made to understand the negatives of what Hasi was going through at an age when she should be learning and preparing herself to better her own future.
Hasi’s mother saw reason and relented – she brought Hasi back from the frightening world she had been forced to inhabit. She ensured that Hasi returned to IIMPACT’s Learning Centre picking up threads from where she had left off.
IIMPACT ‘s team worked closely with her and helped gift Hasi her childhood back!
The teachers of IIMPACT are devoted and dedicated. It is because of this that our girls are learning fast and now have good writing skills. A sample of this is given below. These are stories written by our girls themselves.
Sahanara Khatun, daughter of Abdul Gaffer Lasker was an out of school girl till IIMPACT touched her life. She lives in the tiny village Patra and was married at the very early age of thirteen. Her husband works in a distant town and Sahanara continues to stay with her parents.
Being faced with such a case for the first time IIMPACT had to counsel both her parents and her in-laws about the negatives of marrying at such a young age and the effects it would have on their daughter. It took a while but the team finally convinced them all about the importance of educating each of their daughters. Sahanara’s parents were persuaded to send Sahanara as well as their other daughters to school. They have agreed that they will not get their younger daughters married at such an early age.
The parents and in-laws were shown the school and introduced to the way in which daily classes were conducted. They were encouraged by what they saw.
Today Sahanara has been coming to the centre for the past year and is at present studying in class II. Her younger sisters will soon be joining Sahanara at the IIMPACT learning centre.
Urmila , a seven year old IIMPACT student in Orissa is living proof of the fact that even extremely young children can be positively influenced by the actions of their peer group.
Before IIMPACT came into her life Urmila could be seen helping her widowed mother with housework. She had lost her father at the tender age of one. Her mother Gandalu was subsequently forced by their impoverished state to get all her 5 very young children involved in arduous physical labor at a terribly tender age. The children all work in the neighboring stone crushing quarries and help with basic farming activities in order to bring in additional income into their poverty stricken lives.
Despite her difficult life Urmila always harbored a dream of going to school just like some of her numerous village friends. She would watch these young girls with great envy as they happily skipped to their local IIMPACT learning centre, always keen to get to there on time. These girls were learning exciting new things every day at the centre and yet continued to contribute to their family’s income by working after school hours.
Young Urmila, brimming with the desire to escape from the mundane life she was leading, finally took it upon herself to visit the IIMPACT centre and personally meet with the teacher in order to explore the possibility of being part of the IIMPACT program; the determined young girl did not involve her family in this process. Having independently decided on what she wanted to do Urmila then gradually worked on her mother, finally convincing her mother of the importance of education in the lives of young girls.
IIMPACT very soon became an integral part of her life and of that of her entire family. The family now takes a lot of interest in Urmila’s academic progress. Much to her mother’s amazement the diligent Urmila recently declared that she would like to become a teacher one day in order to enable many more girls to gain from the benefits of education. She may very well be a valuable IIMPACT teacher one day!