Our involvement in exercising children's right to education started two years ago when our maid inquired if we could find a job for her elder daughter , 12 years old. She has 5 children, the older four are girls and the youngest is a boy. We were disappointed to learn that they plan to send only the boy to school. The older two daughters were responsible for the house hold chores and also looking after the three younger ones. She felt her second daughter (then 10 years) could handle all the responsibilities at home thereby making the oldest available to contribute to the family income. If nothing worked out locally they had no option but to place her with 'families' far away who wanted cheap labour and promised to look out for the welfare of the child. We knew what kind of terrible fate awaited her. We had to step in insist that they send her to school in return for a slightly higher wage for our maid. Also the daughter's school expenses had to be borne by us. Right now all 4 girls are being schooled at our expense. We started getting a lot of requests locally from parents of children who cannot give them basic education. The school also started referring cases to us. We help as much as possible. We would like to keep this initiative running also if possible expand to accommodate children from other schools too. It is very painful to tell parents and children that we already have too many obligations that we cannot undertake anymore. We have a local network (samajam) helping us with funding, but that still is not enough. Hence the appeal in Milaap.
Right now we support this initiative in two nearby schools in Kochi. The first school ie the elamakkara government school provides free education , funds are utilised for buying school text books. The second school is an English medium school and we support the children by paying the fees and buying the books. In future , we would like to support them by providing uniform, stationary ie pen,pencils,notebooks, umbrella and anything else they might need to have a happy school life. Your contribution however minimal will go a long way. Please support us in keeping this initiative alive and helping financially backward children have a bright future.