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Help 10-year-old Vrihaspati get an education

Vrihaspati Paik, aged 10, is a student of grade IV at our non-formal school. The school is located in Bashanti Colony, adjacent to Bidhan Nagar Railway Station. This colony happens to be the second largest slum in India situated right in the heart of Kolkata. Vrihaspati’s father Bakul is a van puller ferrying goods in the local market while her mother Shyamoli, works as a domestic aid in the hi-rise apartments in the posh Ultadanga area. Together, Bakul and Shyamoli somehow manage to secure meals and some basic needs for the family.

During morning and evening hours, Vrihaspati goes out with her mother to assist in the task of “domestic aid”. Our afternoon timings made it possible for Vrihaspati’s parents to send their child at this school. Had it not been for this timing, schooling in morning hours would have meant compromise on earnings, which the family can’t afford under any circumstances.

Four years back, Vrihaspati was admitted in class I of our non-formal school at the age of 6. However, during the initial years, Vrihaspati’s parents were quite reluctant to send her to school. According to them, education of girl child is not that important. Right from the beginning, the girl has been consistently good in picking up class lessons. She is also among the toppers of her class. Besides studies, Vrihaspati is very keen in taking dance lessons conducted in the school during weekends.
According to Vrihaspati’s parents, the nutritional Tiffin provided at the school acts as an additional incentive to be present for classes regularly. Vrihaspati’s mother dreams that someday their child will become a young, educated girl and secure an office job instead of knocking from one door to another as a domestic aid. Vrihaspati herself wants to become a teacher like her teacher-didi in the school and educate other girls of the slum area.

Turnstone Global
Programme Location
West Bengal
Cause: Advocacy