I'm raising money to support three Rajasthani girls with their education costs. They used to live in very disadvantaged conditions but Neelam, 12, Simran, 11, and Radjini, 9, are all doing really well at school. I would like to keep it that way so this collection is for the academic year 2019/20, which fees are due in March 2019.
I met the family in Kathmandu, Nepal, in 2010, where father Dhurumvir and mother Nitu struggled in a slum of Indian migrant workers. At the time, conditions in their home in Rajasthan were even harder so Dhurumvir preferred making an income fixing shoes in Kathmandu. I spent an unforgettable summer by visiting and frequently staying over in the camp.
After returning to the UK, I set up this donor network of friends, family and strangers. Together, we have enrolled three girls to school since 2011. Somehow we always make it and manage to keep the girls at school. The family and I are forever grateful for all donors and would like to ask if you could kindly support the girls again this year, and perhaps find a friend who could become a new donor.
The family has seen a lot of hardship over the years. They are outside the caste system so the parents are illiterate and often without basic rights in the society. The girls did not have a great start for life but lived in an unhygienic camp. Their two sisters, Kamal and Khushi, passed away as babies between 2013 - 2015. I was only a student with limited resources far away in the UK and I felt so helpless when they died.
Things have changed for the better since then. The family lives in Rajasthan and has had another daughter Varsha, 3, and a baby boy who was born about two months ago. Everyone's so thrilled. Dhurumvir works in weddings, preparing and cleaning.
Years spent in school are also yielding results. Neelam helps her parents by reading random stuff when needed. Girls are top students in their classes and have lots of friends.
We have intentionally chosen a top local school because students in the government schools do not perform well at all. Despite years of studies, lack of government resources and uncaring teachers in government schools only result in pupils with poor reading skills. Hence there is little point going down that path. Secondly, the girls really deserve the best opportunities now to counter-balance the disadvantaged starting point they were handed at birth.
Going to a nice school provides the best education in the area but also makes the kids sense nuances in who is affluent and who is not. Neelam sometimes says her friends eat nice food and have beautiful stationery. Dhurumvir is sometimes worried of how the division between his and other, more affluent families, will impact on his children when they grow older. He doesn't know what the other parents do for work because he's never spoken with them. Once he had to say 'no' to Neelam, who wanted to visit her friend's house, out of fear of other parents getting angry of Neelam's 'low' background.
But for now, kids don't care and all three were able to name several friends at school. I also think the society is changing, so people in IT industry for example are increasingly ignoring the dividing traditions, which mainly exist in rural areas.
It's important we help the girls because they will be the vehicle for change. The donations will cover the tuition fees, additional classes, transport, uniforms and books. As usual, I'll post the receipts and donation lists on the campaign site after I've sent the money to Nitu through Western Union money transfer service. You can donate anonymously with a secure card payment in the top right corner of this site or contact me for bank details.
You can also help by spreading the word and posting this link to your own social media sites; it would be great, if you could find a friend of yours who might be interested too!