ByÂ Save The Children:
“It’s a different world that I now live in. I could never imagine going to school in a uniform, living with a 100 girls in a residential school, using computers and having a full stomach without any hard labour. I am grateful for the enrolment drive that helped me get admission in school,” Hiramati says.
At the tender age of 12 when Hiramati Kumari should have been in school, she was working hard to ensure that her employer’s child got to school on time. Hiramati was taken away by traffickers from her village in Jharkhand when she was 11-years-old to work as a domestic help in Delhi. She would then carry their school bags and water bottles for them to the bus stop, pushing the desire of wanting to go to school out of her mind. Hiramati worked there for 10 months as a domestic worker before running away. She remembers the episode as the worst phase of her life.
The day followed her with some more tedious household chores — washing the utensils, sweeping the house, dusting furniture, cooking food for the family, washing clothes…The drudgery would end at around midnight, only to come back to her again before the break of dawn. Hiramati somehow mustered the courage and ran away. She managed to find her way back to her home with the support of the police in Delhi. Once home, she didn’t want any trace of her life that she had lived in the past few months, but there seemed to be no way out. School was an impossible dream. Hiramati’s father had died when she was three. Her mother worked as a daily wage labourer and had no idea how she could afford her daughter’s education.
Hiramati’s dream came true when Save the Children’s education programme started at Mandar. She was identified as one of the out-of-school children and Save the Children advocated for her enrolment inÂ Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalay (KGBV) at Mandar. Hiramati now studies in class six. She is in love with the school environment because she does not have to toil hard to feed herself. The only responsibility she has now is to study hard for a better future. Hiramati takes keen interest in other co-curricular activities as well. She was the happiest when Computer classes were introduced in her school a few months ago. She isÂ especially interested in mastering the computer, which she had first seen in her employer’s house, but other than dusting and cleaning it, had never dared to touch it. She can now use the paint brush application expertly, and has garnered praise for her artistic abilities from both her friends as well as her teachers. Now, girls not only from KGBV Mandar, but from rest of the five KGBV schools from West Singhbhum and Ranchi are learning Spoken English.
Hiramati is happy and thankful that the initiative has been well-received by her peers. She is now a proud and accomplished student of her school.