Two sisters make their way to school, beating domestic odds. - Educate Girls

Two sisters make their way to school, beating domestic odds.

May 9, 2024 Educate Girls
<strong>Two sisters make their way to school, beating domestic odds.</strong>

Often, a family’s financial problems are the main reason they keep a child home. When families are struggling with money, it can lead to other problems like alcoholism and violence at home. For children who don’t go to school, violence at home becomes a normal part of life. For eleven-year-old Vaishali and seven-year-old Vidya*, this was their experience in a remote, tribal village in Dhar District, Madhya Pradesh.

Vaishali and Vidya live with their father, Kailash, who works as a labourer, and their mother, Sunita. When Kailash’s first daughter, Vaishali, was born, they used to live together with his alcoholic father. However, when Vidya arrived, the atmosphere changed. Disappointed at not having a grandson, Kailash’s father blamed the couple for the “misfortune.” But the brunt of his anger was borne by the girls. He prohibited them from going to school. Following tradition, Kailash and his wife complied. Despite being of school-going age, Vaishali spent all her time doing household chores.

In 2019, things got worse. Kailash’s father started coming home drunk and hurting the girls. Kailash couldn’t do anything about it. One night, he decided it was best to leave home to protect his daughters. Kailash and his family moved to a nearby village. In the new village, Kailash worked hard as a labourer. He wanted his daughters to go to school, but they didn’t have their documents with them, and he didn’t want to face his father again. So, the girls couldn’t go to school. 

After the pandemic, Kailash lost his father, and they decided to move to find better work. Around this time, Educate Girls’ Team Balika Volunteer Seema visited them. Seema knew Vaishali and Vidya were not in school. She didn’t waste time and went to see them right away. Seema talked to Kailash about Educate Girls and told her he wanted his girls to go to school. Seema contacted Educate Girls’ Field Coordinator Pinky Muvel and told her the whole story. 

The next day, Seema and Pinky revisited Kailash. Pinky explained the different government schemes the girls were eligible for to ease Kailash’s financial concerns. Pinky asked Kailash if he wanted his daughters to go through what he had gone through. This made Kailash think, and he agreed to enrol both his children.

Seema and Pinky faced a new challenge: getting Vaishali and Vidya’s documents ready. Seema made many trips to the Panchayat office and completed all the paperwork. She also took them to school for enrolment. The sisters were finally enrolled in Grade 1 and are now regularly going to school!

*names changed to protect minors  

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Posted on May 9, 2024

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