| Apr 28, 2017
Sanika has overcome prejudice
1 April was International Day of the Slum Child and we want you to know the impact you are making on our children and young people. Thank you so much for your support of children living in our slum areas, you are improving their lives through empowering us to provide them with the education that will help them and their families raise their socio-economic status to escape crippling poverty, you are literally transforming lives.
What you may not realise is that you are also helping us in reaching out to further communities to do the same for many others. Having worked in our own city and district for over 27 years we have developed models which we are now sharing with others and supporting them to recreate our unique balbhavan model in their own communities. Over the past year our dedicated team has been working in outlying districts providing them with the curriculum and support to start their own evening classes and work towards ensuring even more children achieve their full academic potential, thank you. You can see more about the full range of educational, health and extracurricualr support you are helping us deliver to these communities in the video below.
The good news is we are now able to think beyond primary and secondary education and reach out to those living in rural villages and slums. We have recently developed two new further education training courses to provide much needed health professionals for our own projects and local healthcare providers and contribute to reducing the highest number of farmer suicides in 15 years by educating the next generation of farmers. Our Bedside Assistance Training Programme launched with 30 new students earlier this month and the first 30 students from our Agricultural Training Center are about to graduate. Both these courses are helping those from the most vulnerable backgrounds to secure employment and support their families.
We also want to help you understand the challenges when working with people who haven’t had the luxury of education. Sanika was born with a major discoloration and hair growth on the skin around her right eye. The financial condition of her family was not good and her illiterate mother believed that her birthmark was an indication of a curse by evil spirits and she took Sanika to an array of weird Sadhus and God-men to free her of it.
When Sanika was about eight, a Sadhu convinced her mother to leave Sanika, who by then developed a complex about her appearance and had lost her confidence, at an orphanage. Taking the advice of the Sadhu, Sanika’s mother started looking for a suitable institution, however they all refused to take her because of the birthmark. Fortunately, she met our founder Girish who immediately agreed to give Sanika a home at Snehalaya.
This was in 2004 and she was soon proving popular among her hostel mates and became a model student at school. As she focused on her studies, working hard and gradually gaining confidence, she started taking part in all of the extracurricular activities available and an operation on her birthmark by a renowned plastic surgeon in Ahmednagar, proved successful leaving only a smaller surgical scar behind.
Sanika secured good marks in her 10th standard exams and took up commerce. It was then that she met a chartered accountant and supporter of Snehalaya, who is providing study guidance to Sanika and two of her Snehalaya classmates. His patience and perseverance is bringing great results and Sanika’s studies and English conversation skills continue to improve and she will soon take her final year degree exam after which she plans to become a bank officer.
Thank you for enabling us to continue to help girls like Sanika and providing us with the support we need to take our expertise further.
We are training future healthcarers
Opening a new balbhavan