This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Children In An Indian Village: Their Daily Routine

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Pranietha Mudliar:

Place- Sasthapur Village,
Basavakalyan Taluka,
Bidar District,
Karnataka, India
(February to April 2011)

I had been meaning to pen down my thoughts about my time spent in my study area since a very long time but somehow the words wouldn’t flow out straight. I saw a lot of things and it somehow confused me. I went down to field with no pre-conceived notions. My advisor had warned me innumerable number of times to get rid of any biases that I may possess.

Happy… Simple joys

The NGO that hosted me also ran an orphanage. This is not any ordinary orphanage in the real sense of the term. The children who live here are either school dropouts, children who work as labour on farms or children who are just too poor enough to afford going to school. There are 25 boys here, ranging from 5 years to 14 years. The NGO trains them for a year and then helps them with admissions into primary schools. Girls still don’t have the privilege to be a part of such an institution as it is difficult to convince the parents that the girl child also need to study. It is indeed a luxury to go to school when one can rather contribute by earning wages by working on the fields.

The day begins for them at 5 am. They get up with a lot of clamour as all children do and start rushing off to start the day’s work. They have to clean the compounds, bring in the vegetables, wash the rice (in a huge cauldron like vessel), wash their clothes and then take a bath at the community tap. Then at 8 they start their breakfast after a quick prayer to Annadatta. Then it’s time for studies which continues till lunch time.

Bathing!

After lunch they have some respite from the rigor of their studies and they sit around trying to complete some math sums or just read- which entails keeping books in front of them trying to make sense of the strange little characters.

It was a pleasure to watch them play kabaddi one evening. Their smiles and their camaraderie made that moment for me magical. It took them too away from their strict and rigid life.

By 5 it’s again back to studies till 10 in the night with a short break for dinner. The kids are a disciplined lot. They obey their master who doesn’t refrain from using his cane liberally. They fear their elders and flinch when spoken to.

Prayers before dinner

I looked at the kids hard for 2 days before I ventured out to speak and play with them. I could only think that city kids are such a privileged lot and I was so thankful that I was lucky enough to receive the ‘benefits’ of living in a city and well, not a life like these kids.

On my last night I was invited to teach the children some English so that it would inspire them to keep trying to learn it. The logic being that an outsider would have greater impact on the kids rather than someone close harping about its importance day in and day out. I hesitated at first thinking that I didn’t in any way want to play a part in already burdening the children but after a lot of insistence I gave in and went.

It was 10 pm. The kids looked dead sleepy to me. A bunch of 5 kids were made to sit upfront because they were ‘better’ in English that the rest of the class. I mulled over what to teach such a lot because I was sure that hardly anything would make sense to them when all they wanted to do was sleep. Having no choice I started by telling them about seasons. The response was overwhelming. I could see no trace of their sleepiness and they were just so eager to soak in any bit of knowledge that came their way. Maybe the night was playing games with me.

In the classroom

The kids were very willing to sing songs so we started with Jack and Jill and Hum honge kaamyaab. And they just loved it. They followed the tone of my voice and the actions of Jack and Jill sent them into thrills.

Song singing-still looking fearful

Before leaving one boy who was ‘better’ at English asked me, “Tumchya sarka English bolayla kay karava lagta?” (What do we have to do to speak English like you?) That is when a lot of conflicting emotions hit me- I was so touched and glad that they have the hunger to learn and yet saddened by the fact that though the hunger exists, the opportunities were not going to be easy to come by.

I say this because they previous day in one of the villages I saw one kid in his uniform roaming in the village while the rest of the children were in school. I asked him why he wasn’t in school. Pat came the reply, ”Today I had to go on the field to work with my parents’.

Though these kids will be sent to school, there is no guarantee that they will remain in school. For most it will be back to the fields in the hot scorching sun and remembering a fading dream.

Photo via Procsilas via Flickr Creative Commons

You must be to comment.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Imran Khan

By Imran Khan

By Priyank Sharma

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below