13 year old Rachna*, lives in a small village in Rajasthan. When Rachna was in the 4th standard she lost her mother to cancer. Rachna was left with her father, elder sister and younger brother. Six months after her mother's demise, Rachna's father remarried. The age difference between Rachna's elder sister and her new mother wasn't much. Rachna's father feared that his elder daughter would not easily accept his new wife and so Rachna’s elder sister was sent off to live with her grandparents.
Rachna's father and step-mother used to work in the field and as a result Rachna had to contribute to the housework and take care of her younger brother. Due to this her attendance in school suffered. A few months later, her step-mother gave birth to twins. Rachna's responsibility increased as her step-mother insisted that Rachna stay at home to care for her younger siblings. Eventually Rachna was made to drop out of school.
When Swati, an Educate Girls field coordinator (FC) visited the village, she spoke to Rachna's parents about the importance of education and following a number of meetings to convince him, Rachna’s father hesitantly agreed to send Rachna to school. Rachna was enrolled into school.
A few months later, when Swati revisited the village, she found out that Rachna had stopped going to school just days after Swati left the village. She decided to visit Rachna's parents once again and talk to them. After Swati spoke to Rachna's parents she understood that when Rachna went to school she could not help with the housework and look after her younger siblings, this increased her parents' work load. Swati then suggested that Rachna's parents seek help from their relatives who live in the same village. She reasoned that Rachna's younger brother would be at school during the day and the twins could be left in the care of their aunt. She then suggested the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV), a government- run free school for girls. She explained that if Rachna went to KGBV her parents would not have to bother about her, as she will be well taken care of at the school. Rachna's father was hesitant to send her to a residential school. Swati then took him to visit the school. After the visit, he was convinced that KGBV was a safe place and that his daughter would be in good hands. Finally, Rachna's parents agreed to send her to KGBV. Swati enrolled Rachna in the 6th grade.
Today, Rachna is doing very well in her studies. Rachna says, "I am grateful that Swati didi helped me by enrolling me at KGBV. The first time didi visited my house my parents enrolled me in the village school, I had to dropout to help my parents. But I'm glad that Swati didi visited the village again and convinced my parents to send me to school. She also helped my parents by giving them a very viable solution to their problem."
*Name changed to protect identity of minor.