Gauri, 14 and Rupali, 12 are sisters. With their parents toiling hard as daily wage laborers in Kalyan’s brick manufacturing factories, in Maharashtra, these girls never had a normal childhood. Even as kids they were carried along to the factory sites by their parents, and when they became old enough to stand, they had already joined work to help with the family income. Unable to secure two square meals a day, education of the girls remained a distant dream.
When Smile Foundation’s Mission Education centre, BHT was initiated in the community, it took months of counseling, endless home visits and mobilization sessions to convince the parents and bring the first batch of children to the centre. But the problem of adequate nutrition for the children remained constant. They could not concentrate on their classes due to hunger. There was also a fear of dropping out. Both girls wanted to engage in daily wage earning to eat two meals a day.
Today, both Gauri and Rupali willingly attend classes on a regular basis. Their parents take great care not to miss any of the parents’ teacher meetings and take complete interest in their children’s academic progress. Both sisters actively participate in sports all thanks to Smile Foundation and HNF’s initiative to provide nutrition to these children. Nutritious lunch is provided to all the students to encourage them to learn and grow up as healthy individuals. Both Gauri and Rupali want to help children who drop out of school due to hunger when they grow up.