All smiles; Raimi photographed at her house in UP
Iram (11) and Taskeen (12) are both inseparable, whether in class or with the style of wearing their hair. Which remains intact with a middle parting, followed by two symmetrical plaits, symbolic of the bond both of them share.
The girls are the middle two sisters of the family of seven. They live with their family in Farrukhabad and have 3 other siblings. Their younger sister, Raimi (8), is currently enrolled in Gyan Shala’s Class III. The other two are brothers, Ayaan (2) and Fazil (16). While Fazil has never been to school, Ayaan, the youngest will soon join Raimi in a year or two, to follow the path of all his elder sisters.
Their father, Ateer, and mother, Khairun Nisha are both trained zardozi workers. While Ateer spends most of his days doing embroidery work at the local workshop, Khairun Nisha does Zardozi from the comforts of her open veranda to support the household’s income. Out of her earnings, she contributes a major chunk towards the girl’s education, saving hard-earned pennies for her labour. Their eldest brother, Fazil also accompanies Ateer to the workshop.
Achieving what many only dream!
Iram and Taskeen both joined our program in 2013 in Class I and graduated from Class 5 in 2018. Both, Iram and Taskeen have been associated with Gyan Shala for five years, prior to which they had never been to a formal setting or ‘school’ before.
From Class I, when they were starting to read and write for the first time, Iram and Taskeen have gradually progressed in their education, gaining more knowledge and confidence with each passing year.
“In the last six years, we have seen both of them grow, physically and intellectually. Both are very different from each other, but when it comes to studies, they are competitive and strive to do their best. They always make us proud”, adds Khairun.
In 2018, when Iram and Taskeen graduated from Class 5, the family, along with the girls’ teachers and supervisors, were all brainstorming which all schools to apply to. The girls had set their eyes and hearts on one of the best schools in the neighbourhood. They had decided to strive for the best and aimed to be a part of the Kanodiya Girls School.
After clearing the intensive entrance test, both Iram and Taskeen got shortlisted. Seizing this opportunity, they joined their dream school, which has further enabled free and high-quality education for the next few years.
Reminiscing their humble beginnings
Although, initially, the sisters missed their old life of 3.5 hours of classes and familiar friends and teachers. However, in the last two months, the girls have grown fond of their new surroundings, and look forward to walking to school each morning. They enjoy how the new school has uniforms, and a proper canteen, where they are served food, each afternoon.
Iram and Taskeen have both moved onto bigger things since leaving the community learning centre or Gyan Shala. While Taskeen is extremely shy and reserved, Iram is outspoken and enjoys making new friends.
Converting Challenges into Opportunities
Despite challenges, both girls have been mainstreamed into the system and are continuing their education. On recalling the struggles of mainstreaming the girls, Khairun recalls how they were discouraged by some community members who believed that these girls were not cut out to be part of the league and should rather focus on ‘religious education’ instead of being part of a school. Although this extremely, the family was determined to get the girls the best education available.
Impact on the household
“Although, it’s called just ‘Gyan Shala’, I know that the foundation they received in these classes is non-comparable to any other school I would have sent them to, which I doubt I could afford. We are extremely grateful that these girls got the right education at a young age, which has taken them to a great school like Kanodia in merely five years”, states a proud Khairun.
E&H Foundation is enabling quality education for many such children. By focussing on building strong foundational learning in the first five years of a child's life, we are ensuring continued learning where these children can pave their own path and move ahead in the education system and subsequently, in life.
To support the education of underprivileged children in India and to chalk out more such success stories, donate on Give India Fundraisers for E&H Foundation
Ayaan with his mother, Khairun
Half a Household; Raimi, Ayaan & Iram with Khairun