Sep 9, 2019

Asma - sky full of dreams


Dear Fellow being,

This time around I bring to you an endearing story of our child journalist Asma - meaning sky, and her tale to achieve her dreams.

All went well until the day when my dad died due to snake bite, at that time I was only 3 years old, my mother along with all my siblings packed all our belongings and by the time I realized we had made a home on the streets of Pune City, the early years of my life were spent on the busy streets of Pune Station, as my mother scraped a meagre earning from begging and doing petty jobs. At a very young age, I began begging outside the Dargah (Muslim holy place of prayer) along with my mother. I am the youngest of all 7 brothers and sisters, we lived in a thatched house on the footpath. We were exposed to various forms of violence and abuse, we did not have any access to primary health care, we were subject to cruel and inhuman treatments every day while living on the streets, we had no proper shelter nor were we safe on the streets.

When I was 11 years old in the year 2015 Rainbow Foundation reached out to me and now it is 4 years that I have been a part of the Rainbow Family. Before coming to Rainbow Home I was enrolled in school but I was irregular and did not have much interest in studies as there was always pressure from family to beg and earn a living, also since I never went regularly to school I was poor in studies and could not concentrate and often get beaten up by the teachers for not doing the tasks, which further disinterested me towards studying. The timely intervention helped me, as it did with so many other girls. And today I am attending formal school and studying in 9th Grade. I aspire to become a Police Officer. I live a life free from exploitation and abuse, a life of dignity. I am happy in Rainbow Home as I have a lot of friends and Didi’s around me who always guide me, help me whenever there is a need, I live freely, I enjoy dancing, drawing chit-chatting with friends and Didi’s and her in Rainbow Homes I got all these opportunities. Now I attend school regularly and get educational support from the teachers which has developed my interest in studies now I can even write and read without any errors, I can express my thoughts and share them in writing with others, I am very happy to be a child Journalist for Rainbow Saathi(Rainbow Homes quarterly magazine) as it gives me a platform to express my feelings and thoughts about issues of concern at the same time has given me the confidence to encourage other children to express themselves and then we together write in the Rainbow Saathi. I count myself to be blessed being a part of the Rainbow Family, my desire is to reach out to many more street children like me and to make them a part of this family.

I am from a Muslim community. In our society women every day wear burkha. And if a woman is seen without a burkha then our big brother they shout at us, and I do not like to wear burkha and we are not allowed to keep our faces uncovered. But in Delhi, people wear burkha and also cover their faces with a nakaf and they are not allowed even to lift the nakaf and if they do so, they are severely punished and are kept hungry for one entire day but I do not like it and because of which I stopped going there. My mother and sister force me a lot to go there but I say no baba...Muslim, Hindu, Jai Bheem, Maratha all discriminate each other and I don’t like it and whatever regarding caste discrimination that is happening in our society should come to end this is what I feel very strongly. In our society there are a lot of religions and caste and Muslim religion is a part of it. And these difference in religion and caste have been created by man himself and it is important that one should give some thought to it. Before coming to rainbow home we never celebrated festivals of other religions but after coming to Rainbow Home we celebrate festivals other than our own religion, and that time I understood the difference in religions and their practices. I understood that society doesn’t mean religion and caste but the place I live in, my surroundings, people leaving in my surroundings. But the society where I stayed before coming to Rainbow Home is not good, there every night men would come and torture girls, and if we did not speak properly to them then the next night they will come to our houses and steal and then physically abuse the women and young girls. I am happy to be in Rainbow Home here I do not face any such discrimination nor am I forced to wear a burkha.

The magazine article written by asma
The magazine article written by asma
Jul 22, 2019

Journey from a School Drop out to an IIT'ian

Hi all! Its me Pavan !
Hi all! Its me Pavan !

Hi friends!

It's so nice to be able to share my story with you all today. A story of how I, a Lorry driver's son living on the streets of India, who could never have dreamt of living in comfort, am now, on road to realising such dreams by becoming a successful learned professional.

Today, I am a student of IIIT, Basara for integrated B.Tech. A dream for many, but beyond imagination for a child like me. While on slum living, we lived by somehow in whatever meagre earning my father toiled for. Life was all about play catch with my friends, run errands when my father came home every evening to buy rice and eggs. I used to see the school children my age, with their shiny shoes and colourful bag packs, what interested me more was the free auto/bus rides they used to enjoy, and I remember being envious of that. We got to ride in autorickshaws in my neighbourhood when my friends' father used to come home, we would hop in the rickshaw and I would drive! It was during that year I remember people coming to see my father and mother and uncle talking to me about going to a place where kids my age and older live and play all day. They even get to ride on buses and go to school! I marvelled at the whole idea and agreed to go check it out. This was a turn in my life known as Rainbow Homes Program aka the place for me to find more friends. My home's name was Aashray Balatejassu Sheh Ghar. Life was good, and I loved chatting the ears off of my older "Bhaiya's"

In my 3rd class, I was forcibly dropped out of school by my mother. At that time, I did not know what happened exactly, but my parents got separated. Eventually, in the middle of the academic year, I and my younger brother went with my mother to live off with my maternal grandparents. I thought we would be admitted to another school at my grandparents’ place, but that day never came. We did not know the reasons, but my father understood what was happening to us. With an intention to retaliate against my father, my mother took both of us away from my father.

Fearing things might go bad, my father took a step! When my mother and grandparents were busy attending the funeral of some of their relative, my father secretly came to the village and took us with him. To avoid being caught by anyone, he walked five-kilo meters in the forest carrying both me and my younger brother on his shoulders. He did not have enough means to look after and did not know who would take care of us in his absence. What he had was love and utmost concern for our future. So he sought my paternal uncle’s support. My uncle is also an auto driver with a family of 3 children. Nevertheless, he extended support and suggested for our admission into some hostel for the less privileged. he searched for good quality homes and finally find out the one, Balatejassu Boys home. After due enquiry, he approached the home management and sought for our admission into the home. Listening to our vulnerable condition, home management took me back again.

After a short bridge course, I got admitted into the 4th class. Coming back I started concentrating on studies, noticing my spark for studies, home mothers and teachers encouraged me and continuously supported me to perform well in studies. My rising grades got me more love, support and appreciation from my "bhaiya's" (Older brothers in the home) and home mothers, I was happy. One of the donors visiting the home asked the home team to put me to English Medium schooling from 6th grade, to build up my potential and vocabulary. I found it really difficult and resisted incessantly, even resorting to crying, all but to no use. They knew that I can cope with the same and after a while, it won’t be much problem for me. With time and practice of different words and letters, I gained the confidence, understanding English better. The initial year proved to be a struggle, but with the support of home and school teachers, I could overcome the fear and started giving my best. Finally, in the S.S.C., 2019, I secured a whopping 9.8. GPA, paving a way for my admission into IIIT. While marks helped me to get admission, English medium education boosted my confidence to seek admission and fluency while communicating.

As I recall my years as a student and my time on streets, I truly thank my father for taking that decision that day who is now proud of me and all those who supported my education and helped me stand where I am today.

Thank you, dear readers, may this support of yours continue to impact many more lives like mine, helping people become empowered and truly conquer their inner fears and struggles in life.

Much Gratitude

Pavan (meaning breeze)

Jun 12, 2019

Nikita's Score to her dreams


I Never thought I'd reach till here...

Hi everyone! My name is Nikita, and I am happy to share with you all that I secured 945 marks in 2019 Intermediate examinations. At this juncture, I am able to envision my future as a medical professional. I never thought I could reach up to here, or that I could even continue my studies. I always loved to study but I couldn't do that due to severe financial troubles that crept into our life. 

Misfortune and worst possible disturbances between my mother and father wrecked our family financially and socially. My parents separated and my mother left our siblings with my father. At that time my father’s emotional and financial condition was in very bad shape. He started resorting heavily on alcohol. That brought him no respite but a major accident, that took place while he was driving in an inebriated condition. That accident and its related problems drained our finances completely.

The worst part was, he stopped paying school fees for he could not afford to pay. So we stopped going to school, but my mind was always in school. With nobody to care for our interests, we did not know, where our life was going. In that totally disturbed and disrupted condition, my father consulted my paternal uncle and sought his help. He was just an auto driver having family and children. Nevertheless, he was kind enough to provide us with temporary shelter at Hyderabad. My uncle has three children and all were going to school. When I saw them going to school, I could not afford to sit back at home idly. So I started pleading my uncle and father. Father was in no state to look into our needs and uncle couldn't afford it. So he started enquiring about homes which can provide conducive environment and education as well. In that process, he came to know about AASHRAY RAINBOW HOME in Secunderabad. But he was very much concerned about me as I was a girl child. So at first, he sought admission for my younger brothers into their Sneh Ghar boys home. Listening to the situation of our family, Aashray management was kind enough to admit my brothers. They also suggested to bring me into their rainbow girls home as we children were almost homeless without our mother and no money to live by. In 2012 I got admitted into their girls’ home. At that time, I was a 5th grade drop out. So Aashray provided me with a lateral bridge course for 6 months and got me admitted into 6th class later on.

Initially, I thought I need to get adjusted for everything as it was a place away from home. I just wanted to continue studies without worrying much for anything else. But Aashray home proved to be a home away from home. Extraordinary love and affection from the home mothers helped me to forget worries and traumatic memories. Slowly got used to it and started fully concentrating on my studies again. Understanding my interest in studies, teachers at home encouraged me greatly and offered me timely help. This helped me to excel in studies and secured a 9.3 percentile in 10th class.

During my 10th class itself, home teachers motivated me to appear for Telangana State Gurukul entrance. I prepared well and secured decent marks in entrance and secured a seat in State Social Welfare Residential College, Narsingi. Excellent education at the college and continuous outstanding support from the Aashray home helped me to concentrate on my studies.    

" I hope to get the same love and support until I am able to become a successful medical practitioner. I thank all of your support to help my friends and me to reach a stage where we can dare to dream and achieve it on our own terms".  - Nikita.   

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