Never expecting to attend school, bright futures lie ahead for two sisters

Never expecting to attend school, bright futures lie ahead for two sisters

Manjura, 7 and Mansura, 8 are sisters who live in the Shastri Park slum of Delhi, India, near the railway line. Their cottage is alongside a train track where many children have died or been injured. Their vulnerabilities are further exacerbated by the lack of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, unavailability of electricity, language barriers and poor educational facilities in the area.

One morning in Shastri Park, as school children dressed in their uniforms were waiting for the bus to pick them up, Manjura and Mansura stood looking at them from a corner. As rag pickers, the girls carried dirty plastic bags full of garbage for sorting through rubbish, instead of going to school along with them.  After watching them for a short time, an outreach worker with CARE’s EMPHASIS program approached the girls, and later that day, their family, with an opportunity to enroll in the program.

Though Manjura and Mansura were interested in going to school, their parents were reluctant. The girls made additional income working as rag pickers, and, their parents weren’t aware of free education in government schools. Besides, the girls would have to get married at 15 or 16 – what use was an education? 

The CARE team member listened to their problems and came up with a solution. The children were immediately linked up with the non-formal educational center in the area. Along with basic education, the sisters were taught health and hygiene, as well as other topics that are useful in their day-to-day lives. The teacher spoke Bengali, so it wasn’t a problem for her to understand the children and enable them to study successfully.

After facilitating this change, the CARE team member met the nearest government primary school principal, and discussed Manjura and Mansura’s admission. The school principal initially said no, but the CARE staff member didn’t give up - he kept advocating for the girls, and finally made it possible for them to enroll.

Now, the girls are thriving, excelling in their studies and participating in They are doing quite well in their studies and participating in extracurricular activities organized by the school. CARE’s efforts made the way easier for these girls to go to school. Today, Manjura and Mansura are no longer rag pickers; instead, every morning, they dress up proudly in their green and white school uniforms, and carry their pencils and notebooks in their school bags and wait for the school bus with the other children.

Our children would have remained illiterate if CARE wasn’t there. CARE was the one that provided us the right opportunity for our children to lead a better life and have a brighter future.

- Manjura & Mansura's Parents

After observing the positive changes in their children, the sisters’ parents are happy now. They say, “Our children would have remained illiterate if CARE wasn’t there. CARE was the one that provided us the right opportunity for our children to lead a better life and have a brighter future. Now we really understand the value of education. It has the capability to bring an immense change in a person’s life. As parents, we want their lives to be better with education and request every parent to get their children educated without any hesitation.”

 

 

 

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