Mamta, 36, came to Delhi after getting married to Kaser Singh in 1998. Her only dream was to get her daughter Uppsana, enrolled into a private school.
“Sarkari schools mein achi padhai nahin hoti” (The standard of education in government schools is not very good), says Mamta.
Uppsana was enrolled in a private school and she loved it there. She admired her English teacher and wanted to be like Rinky madam. “Mujhe teacher banana hai Rinky ma’am jaise” (I want to become a teacher like Rinky madam), said Uppsana.
The increasing cost of uniforms, books and other stationary in a private school was denting the family’s monthly budget. But this did not deter Mamta, who stuck with the notion of her daughter studying in a private school.
To support her family she started to do embroidery, so that money does not become a hurdle in her daughter’s education and her future.
In 2011, the marriage of Uppsana’s parents started to show cracks. Her father drinking habits got out of hand, which eventually led to frequent instances of domestic violence. Eventually, the family separated.
Financial constraints made Mamta incapable of paying Uppsana’s school fee.
The school on their part, told Mamta to take her daughter and find some other school: “fees do warna naam kat jayega” (pay the fees or your daughter’s name will be removed from the school) said the principle.
Uppsana had no other option, but to stay at home for the next four months and was not able to complete her first grade.
Empowerment for Rehabilitation Academic & Health (EFRA) helped Uppsana enrol in their NFE (Non-formal education) programme that helped her to compensate the loss she had suffered. In the 2013-14 academic session she was enrolled in second grade of a government school.
The only thing that Uppsana now misses is her English teacher Rinky who used to give her a candy for every right answer she use to give in class.