Greetings from IDEA !
We want to share the story of Lakshmi with you .
Lakshmi is a fifteen year old orphan child. Her parents died when she was still a toddler – the father died due to severe alcoholism leading to liver damage & the mother due to complications post delivery. Lakshmi’s parents were illiterate and were working as casual laborers. Due to the alcoholism and illness of the father, the family was in extreme poverty. The eldest child Shobha was not enrolled in school at all as the parents needed her to baby sit the younger siblings. The family lived in a tiny tin sheet hut, in a crowded slum.
When the parents died, the eldest child Shobha was about 10 years old; the entire burden of the family- caring and rearing of the younger siblings aged 8, 4 and an infant brother, fell on Shobha’s shoulder. She used to collect and sell scrape materials to earn some money to feed her siblings. Fortunately, a distant relative and a few neighbors helped the family during the initial stages.
Shobha enrolled her younger brother Parshuram , sister Lakshmi and the youngest brother Kashinath in Government school in due course . Shobha got married when she attained puberty due to the pressure from the relatives. In the absence of proper guidance, Parshuram dropped out from school when he was in grade 7 and followed his father’s food steps – as an alcoholic causal laborer. It was then Lakshmi’s turn to look after the family .She was only nine years old and was studying in grade 4 when the entire burden of household work came on her. She somehow managed the work at home for a couple of years. When her elder brother’s alcoholism moved from ‘bad to worst ‘, the family often was on the verge of starvation. Lakshmi had to drop out of school when she was in grade 6 to earn some money to feed her brothers, though she had a strong desire to study.
It was at this stage IDEA started working in the slum where the family was staying. Due to the counseling and support from the Social Workers, Lakshmi was re-enrolled in school. She started attending school and the study centre run by IDEA . Her younger brother was also selected for sponsorship support. We also supported the family with supplementary nutrition. We are also trying to wean the elder brother away from alcoholism but yet to be successful in our attempt. However, he now contributes some money towards the needs of the family.
Lakshmi saves some money by working as a part time servant during long summer vacation. As she is in grade 8, i.e in high school classes, she needs to spend more time on studies when the school reopens in June.
Lakshmi is good in extracurricular activities like dancing, making mehendi designs (an art of decorating hands and legs with henna), jewelry etc. She has benefited through hobby classes run by IDEA in community. She aims to be a Police Officer because she likes that profession.
There are many such children in slums who have been able to dream big due to the support from kind-hearted people like you.
On behalf of all of them, we express our sincere thanks to you.
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