Post her marriage in Bihar, moving to New Delhi was supposed to be a logical move for 23-year-old Rani and her family.
Her husband, Kalicharan is a daily wage labourer. Even though Rani* is illiterate, she wanted her three children to get educated. Moving to Delhi was the first step achieve that goal.
“Dilli main kam milega aur bachcho ke acchhi padhai hogi” (It is easier to find a livelihood in Delhi and my children can get good education.), said Rani.
Living in Madanpur Khadar Jhuggi Jhopdi (JJ) colony, Rani, ensured her children went to school.
Despite finding it difficult to make ends meet, the couple sent their two kids – Ravi* and his elder brother – to a private school.
However, after class four Ravi had to be transferred to a government school.
“Private school ki fees itni zyada thi ki hum de hi nahin pa rahe the” (It was impossible for us to pay the fee for the private school), Rani added.
In September of 2011, Rani lost her youngest son, Rajesh*. He was three-years-old.
“Woh ek shaam ko khel ke wapas aaya aur ja ke so gaya. Uske baad ……..hum usse doosre din hospital le ke gaye” (He came home after playing in the evening and went to sleep. We took him to the hospital as he did not wake up), Rani said.
Rajesh had died in his sleep. This loss for the family was irreparable.
Unable to cope, Rani and her husband decided to move back to their village in Bihar.
Due to this Ravi was missing school. The family returned to Delhi after three months and when Ravi went back to school, he was in for a shock.
The teacher told him that he had been expelled since he had left without informing the school.
Rani says that those were tough times and they were not aware of either the rule or the way to write an application.
Ravi had to opt out of school. He was in class sixth. He spent most of his time watching his friends go to school.
During a field survey done by EFRA, an organization that promotes education, and works intensively on the students who dropped out from school came across Ravi.
He was enrolled into one of their remedial classes, where he continued his studies. Remedial classes helped Ravi catch up with the six months of school that he missed.
With the efforts of EFRA, in 2013, Ravi was enrolled once again in a government school in class sixth.
“He will soon be promoted to class seventh,” said Rani, who is a proud mother.
She adds, “Beta padh lega to apne pero pe khada ho jayega, apne papa se bada banaga aur ek bada aadmi banaga”(Education will help him to stand on his own, and will help him to achieve more than his father and will become a successful person in life.)
* Name changed for confidentiality.