Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Real stories in a Delhi slum

Hari's story

12 year old Hari finds it difficult to relate to other boys his age. ‘Mature, intelligent, serious’ are the words his teachers use to describe him. He shoulders responsibility like he was born to it. If he sees 2 boys fighting, he automatically acts as mediator. When he gets off the school bus, he stands at the door, helping the younger kids get off.

His homework is always done on time and when it comes to academics he gets the highest marks in class.

None of this would come as a surprise if you knew Hari’s history. For 3 years now, Hari has been working at different jobs to send enough money back home to his native village where his 3 younger siblings and parents live.
Initially he worked as a part time servant boy in a household of 4. In the mornings he swept and cleaned the house. His evenings were spent helping with the cooking and cleaning of dishes. In between Hari found the time to attend afternoon school at VIDYA an ngo working in the slum where he lived with an older sister.
For the initial 2 years this school and job suited Hari perfectly. The ngo was running their school in 2 shifts so he could work in the mornings and attend school in the afternoons. But the senior classes were conducted in the mornings and Hari chose to give up his domestic work in favour of attending School.

Family pressures now made him seek employment as an odd job man and delivery boy for a neighborhood shop. So Hari works 10 hours or more everyday to achieve his dream of becoming a policeman someday and at the same time - earning enough to feed and clothe his family back home.

Thumbprints is an effort to build a school where young boys and girls like Hari can see their dreams turn to reality.

Subbu is making the 8th of 35 paintings with his thumb. With these paintings he hopes to raise funds for the School. He plans to have exhibitions in leading galleries of Delhi and Mumbai. He also plans to sell prints online.

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