As I enter into the little hut, which doubles up as a community centre to greet the students of Restore India’s literacy school, Princi’s shy, demure smile immediately catches my eye. Princi is 10 years old. With her gorgeous brown eyes and smile, Princi loves going to the literacy school. She has two brothers and a sister. Her Mum and Dad are hard-working labourers tilling the land for their masters. She comes from a little village called Saidanpur. She showed me around her little home. The walls are made of mud reinforced with bamboo sticks. There is no door at the front entrance. Inside the house is a single room with a tiny kitchen corner. There are no beds at all. The whole family sleeps on a large rectangular wooden plank, which is no bigger than a table which seats six.
Saidanpur surroundings are clean but equipped with the bare basics. There is no running water or electricity here. Clean water comes from one shared water pump. I see ducks waddling, dogs wandering and seniors resting in the heat of the Indian summer.
Princi and her friends attend Restore India’s literacy school Mondays to Fridays for 3 hours. At the literacy school, Princi learns Hindi, English and Mathematics. When she grows up, she wants to be teacher and be her role model to her community.>
I was very impressed when I thought Princi and her friends an English gospel song and they immediately followed me with glee. This little video is living proof that language barrier was not an issue for these kids to learn a song.
Life is hard in the village. With work being the means to provide food everyday, there is no luxury of tuck shops nearby to buy food and snacks, or even a clinic for when you fall sick. In spite of these hardships, the spirit of resilience and commitment of the Saidanpur residents is admirable. The dreams of the old are for a better future for the young. In spite of hardships, the residents of Saidanpur somehow pulled together their resources together to build the community centre we now see with rooftops made from bamboo and pillars made from bricks. So much can be accomplished when we work together rather than against each other.
You may think why these kids are not going to a proper primary school. You see, the truth is that kids like Princi are not allowed to enter school because they come from a lower caste. The caste system is illegal since the late 1940s but tradition to follow the caste system is still strong. Such harsh discrimination prevents kids like Princi from having a basic education.
With the help of Restore India, forgotten communities like Saidanpur are able find meaning and strength through education. And kids like Princi can now move towards a dream of a brighter future.
My Fair Baby believes that education is the key to breaking the poverty cycle. Learning how to read and write will prevent us from being exploited by others. In a country of over 1.2 billion people, India is teeming with people groups who are considered society outcasts due to their caste, upbringing and religious beliefs. Many of the children born into these communities are doomed to poverty where they will never experience education like how we know it in the developed nations.
Like it is in many nations, education makes a significant difference to the life opportunities and choices which a person will have in their life. My Fair Baby is contributing our profits from every sale of our products to help with the ongoing maintenance and needs of literacy schools established in remote villages in North India where Government funding is not available. With 8 literacy schools and over 800 students enrolled and counting, My Fair Baby wants to be the engine room for the literacy schools to thrive.
About the Author
Cynthia Cheong is a great believer in using business as a vehicle to fund community development projects aimed to make a positive change. She runs an online business, My Fair Baby which is committed in providing fairtrade and ethically made baby and kids clothing, toys and accessories and gives 100% of profits earned to My Fair Baby charity partners.