10-year old Lali had never imagined that she would go to school one day. Her parents hail from a village in the Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh. Lali was only 5 -years old when her parents migrated to the state of Gujarat for better employment opportunities. When Lali’s parents and elder brother went to do labour work, she stayed home doing chores. However, 5 years later tragedy struck when her father passed away and they had to return to their village. The financial burden increased on the family and they had to work day and night in the village to sustain themselves.
In 2018, Lali was identified as an out-of-school girl during the door-to-door survey. Educate Girls’ Field Coordinator, Naseer Khan and an Educate Girls’ village-based volunteer (called Team Balika) went to her house to understand the situation at her home. He went to her house and tried speaking to her mother but she wouldn’t even come out of the house. He did not lose hope and went again the next day.
“When I first went to Lali’s home, I realised that both her mother and elder brother had no say in the decision making of the house. It was her grandfather, so I went and spoke directly to him. He seemed like a wise man, he didn’t hold anything against education, but since no one in his entire family ever went to school, he was unaware about its benefits. Another reason for him to not send Lali to school was that she did all the household chores while her mother went to work. Sending her to school would mean the loss of helping hand at home.
I told him that the Government has made education free and compulsory for the children falling in the age bracket of 6 and 14. I told them that sending Lali to school would enable her to face the world and choose a career that will help their family financially. Her grandfather gave it a thought and agreed to send her to school” said Naseer Khan.
In 2018, Lali entered the school for the first time!
She was enroled in Grade 3 according to her age but she felt completely out of place at school. Understanding her situation, the school teacher and the Team Balika paid special attention to her. They took extra learning lessons for her after school and within a few months, she showed improvement.
Now, in 2019 she has successfully completed one year of her schooling. She has made friends at school who often spend time together. Lali loves learning new things at school and after she comes back home, she narrates everything to her mother and sometimes even teaches her. Her mother loves listening to Lali’s stories and doesn’t mind the extra work at hand!