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Meet these 3 Warriors who are Fighting Inequality through Education
Sanya Sodhi, Oxfam India
In the last few years, over 15,000 slums in Delhi have been demolished and over 75,000 people displaced. Some of these families have resettled near Madanpur Khadar, an area in the Southeast of Delhi but ironically not available on Google Maps. It is distinguished as the colony of Rag Pickers who sustain themselves by collecting, sorting and segregating garbage in their own jhuggis. Hundreds of children are growing up in these inhuman conditions, surrounded by heaps of garbage in their own houses. Education remains a distant dream for many of them. Meet these three warriors who are fighting the injustice of poverty and inequality with education.
Anisha’s family moved to Delhi from Bihar when she was seven years old. She comes from a family where girls were not allowed to study. She was a curious child, eager to learn and not willing to resign to her fate like her elder sister.
In her neighborhood, some of her friends visited the Oxfam India supported EFRAH center to study. One day, she gathered the courage and accompanied them to the center. It was like any other Activity Center with basic facilities and infrastructure, but Anisha was delighted to be there. “It was a dream come true for me! A clean room filled with books and board games, a loving teacher and children my age learning and playing together! It is so different from my home where I help my mother segregate garbage."
She came home and requested her father to allow her to visit the center but her father refused. He threatened her and asked not to visit the center again. When the teachers at the centre found about the father’s behaviour they went to their house to counsel him.
Her teacher said, “After we counselled her father, he agreed to send his daughter to the centre but Anisha was not regular to school. We had to follow up with her mother every second day, and eventually built an understanding.”
Four of her younger sisters also got access to education because Anisha dared to stand up for her rights. Today, she is studying in class 7th and is one of the class toppers. She is actively involved in many extracurricular activities. “I love to sing and dance. I also love art and crafts. I love to paint and decorate the center,” she said.
Anisha stood for her dreams. She is Oxfam’s warrior fighting the injustice of poverty with education!
12- year-old Akima gets up before dawn to clean her house and cook for her family of seven. Her parents work as rag pickers and spend long hours in the city. Akima being the eldest child of the family has the responsibility to stay at home and look after her four siblings.
“Since my mother’s job is tiring, I take care of everything in the house,” Akima said.
Despite her rigorous routine, Akima never misses her class at the Oxfam India supported learning center.
Her teachers told us, “She is a very determined and sincere child who has never let her circumstances at home affect her learning. Even after all her responsibilities at home, she daily makes sure to complete her homework.”
Akima wants to grow up to be a teacher. Her determination and resilience inspire us!
We met Sadik during one of our field visits in the slum area near Madanpur Khadar in Delhi. Sadik is four years old—shy, too quiet for his age. When we talked to his guardian, we found that he had lost his mother recently. His father worked as a rag-picker and was unable to spend time with his children. In his father’s absence, their aunt takes care of him and his two year old sister. However, Sadik was unable to go to school.
We intervened and requested Sadik’s family to send him to Oxfam India supported learning centre which provides free education. After a few counselling sessions and regular follow up, Sadik's aunt too became an active participant in his learning journey. Soon his sister joined the centre.
Today Sadik is 7. He is confident, playful, has learnt to read and write, and helps his friends learn better in his class. Sadik refused to give in to his circumstances and chose to fight poverty with education!
Oxfam India works with EFRAH to increase learning outcomes of students and ensure quality education in 10 South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) schools in Madanpur Khadar area in South Delhi.
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