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A Nanhi Kali hailing from Tadoor, Mahabubnagar, T. Jyoti has an inspiring story that highlights her passion for learning. Coming from a family with meagre income, Jyoti started learning without a formal school enrollment by attending classes along with her brother. Her passion for learning was realised by the headmaster of the school where her brother studied. Understanding her financial situation, the headmaster approached the Nanhi Kali community, who helped realise the child’s dream and entitled her to her right to be educated.
Jyoti made everyone involved in her journey to learn proud by standing first in a competition called ‘Meelo Evaru Prathibhavanthulu’ organised by The Vandemataram Foundation. Standing first amongst 100 participants from government and private schools, Jyoti won a cash prize of Rs.5000/- and an opportunity to have an aerial view of Hyderabad city in a flight with her parents. Jyoti dreams of becoming a doctor one day, only to provide free treatment for those who cannot afford it.
Nandini and Arathi are little girls seeking education in Bangalore and hailing from Nepal. Their inability to converse in Kannada and their poor family background were both major drawbacks for them to complete their studies in the city. Team Nanhi Kali identified the spark to study in Nandini and Arathi and put in all efforts to improve their lives. Nanhi Kali activist Shardha, first helped the girls to overcome the language barrier by teaching them Hindi and Kannada and then helped the girls get extra coaching through academic support centres.
Both Nandini and Arathi scored high marks in their final assessment tests thanks to all the coaching and support that was provided to them at the Nanhi Kali academic support centres.
Little Reena Vadhera from Sagpura Government High School had a dream to study and follow her passion for her favourite game, Tennikoit. Losing her mother at a young age, Reena was left with a number of household responsibilities. Nanhi Kali identified the spark in her, persuaded her to practice the game alongside her studies and convinced her father on the importance of playing the game. Reena dedicatedly wakes up at 4am every day to complete her household chores and dedicates her remaining time to studies and her game practice. She was selected in the district level Tennikoit team, and also helped her team to victory with her determination and focus.
T. Nagalakshmi is a 3rd standard girl who comes from low income household. Apart from economic challenges, Nagalakshmi is also physically challenged, as both her right hand and leg have certain birth defects. With all of these pressures, the little girl was low on confidence and self esteem, that eventually affected her willingness to learn and her attention levels in class. She was taken in by the Nanhi Kali programme and provided all the additional support she needed through the academic support centre. Under the mentorship of the Nanhi Kali tutor Mrs. Deepa, Nagalakshmi found the right encouragement and support that the little girl yearned for.
With Nanhi Kali’s support and dedicated efforts, Nagalakshmi transformed in a very short span of time from a shy and unfocussed girl, into a disciplined and a motivated student. Apart from her willingness to learn, there is also a remarkable difference in her social behaviour as well as reading and writing skills.
Kasturi is a Nanhi Kali pursuing her Standard 10 studies from Zilla Parishad Government School in Mahbubnagar. She hails from a family of 5 with her father running a barber shop and her mother working labourer with a daily wage. Kasturi has been a Nanhi Kali student ever since Stndard 5. In spite of the need to help her mother at home, Kasturi stays motivated to pursue her studies and participate in various cultural activities at school.
With constant support and encouragement received at the Nanhi Kali academic support centre, Kasturi participated and stood first in the Mandal level and District level ‘Chekumuki Science Celebrations’ which was jointly conducted by Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and Jana Vignana Vedika in the year 2014. This was Kasturi’s moment of glory and pride where she felt equal to children from various private and government schools.
Kalpana Salam is a Nanhi Kali of village Kanhanpuri of Narharpur block. Hailing from a tribal village, Kalpana’s family does not earn much. Both her parents are daily wage workers and she has two siblings, with her being the eldest. Kalpana has been a Nanhi Kali since 2011-12, but prior to that did not perform well academically. Since joining Nanhi Kali, Kalpana showed remarkable improvement in various facets of her personality.
Nanhi Kali also encouraged her to be physically stronger and with constant practice she represented her school at cluster level annual sports meet where she stood first in 100 meters race. This achievement has boosted her confidence levels and today she aspires to participate in district level competitions. With Nanhi Kali, Kalpana has not only improved her academic performance but also realised her potential in sports. Her teachers have been encouraging and pray for a bright future for her.
Nirmala hails from a poor family living in Thally district, where her father is a coolie with meagre income. Nirmala is in Standard 5 in PUMS (also known as Dinnur School). Apart from her family's low income, Nirmala is also disadvantaged due to physical challenges since birth. With all the physical and financial strains, Nirmala lacked focus and the ability to study in spite of her willingness and zeal. When Nirmala was admitted as a Nanhi Kali student, she was provided with additional support through the academic support centres. Her tutor Mrs. Vasantha, has not only mentored her, but also provided constant care and attention which has helped give Nirmala a direction. She also motivated Nirmala to become more disciplined with her school attendance.
Nirmala’s mother is very proud seeing her daughter’s progress and has considered Nanhi Kali intervention to be a boon in her life.
V Kokila is a class 8 Nanhi Kali studying in the ADW Higher Secondary School in Virugambakkam, Chennai. Her father passed away due to an illness and shortly after, her mother committed suicide. She lives with her aunt and uncle who takes care of her and sends her to school. Her uncle is a laborer.
V Kokila works hard in school so as to excel in her academics. Although she is fond of singing, she also takes part in drama and sports activities in school and the academic support centre. She aspires to be a teacher.
Arina Khan, an effervescent Nanhi Kaliof Marvali Urdu School in Chembur East, Mumbai studies in Standard 4. He father runs a tea stall and her mother is a housewife. She has 2 siblings, an elder sister who is married and an elder brother who currently works in a grocery store.
Arina excels in everything she takes up. Apart from studies she has interest in drawing and sports. She regularly attends school and NK class.
Arina is a leader of attendance committee as her attendance in school and in ASC is the highest. And she plans to become a language teacher. Apart from academics, the NK program is providing her support for her to excel in other extra curricular activities.
BoyaIndu is a class 5 Nanhi Kali from UPS Mellacheruvu of GadwalMandal, Mahabubnagar. Her parents are daily wage laborers. She has an older brother, who is currently studying in class 10.
When Indu was a year and half old, she was diagnosed with polio despite being given all polio vaccinations. After treatment in Hyderabad, she was provided artificial shoes to help her walk.
Her parents are keen that she gets proper education and Nanhi Kali is providing Indu with all the support she needs to excel. Indu is regular to school and she scores well academically. She is the group leader in her class, a role she remains active in.
Gangamma lived in Araku, Andra Pradesh with her parents who were uneducated and had a hand-to-mouth existence. For her higher schooling she took a transfer to the Hukumpeta Government School, that required her to walk for two hours through hilly and rocky terrain.
She lost her father when she was in Std 8. Her mother started working to support her education. Gangamma became a Nanhi Kali and with their help passed Std 10.
Due to lack of financial support Gangamma had to drop out of Bsc and take up physical education training. Today, she works as a physical education teacher in Araku. It was Project Nanhi Kali’s support and her parents will, that helped Gangamma battle whatever life threw her way.
Amruta lives in Mumbai with her parents, sister and two brothers. Her parents are not educated and her father earns a daily wage by doing odd jobs for a carpenter. Amruta’s parents sent her to the Government school in Mankurd and she became a Nanhi Kali when she was in Standard 4. Amruta was introduced to wrestling when she saw 2 girls wrestle, but her sports teacher discouraged her since she was underweight.
This is when Coach Babasaheb Shinde walked into her life and gave her the guidance and training. While wrestling does take up most of her time, Nanhi Kali Community Associates help Amruta cope with her studies. She is also preparing for the National Level Wrestling Championship this year.
Sravani, is a class 4 Nanhi Kali from GPS New Moosaram Bagh in Saidabad, Hyderabad. She stays with her parents and two siblings. Sravani’s family earns Rs. 300 per day which is hardly sufficient to meet the household requirements. Despite these challenges, her parents wish to provide quality education to all their children. Project Nanhi Kali has therefore, been a blessing in disguise as it provides academic as well as material support. Since her enrolment in Nanhi Kali project; she has become more friendly and active in class. She has also developed an interest in extra-curricular activities.
Sravani is a regular at school and has an excellent academic record. She has also won 3 medals for dance.
Dhapi Khushwah, resides in Govardha in Madhya Pradesh where many young girls are forced to drop out of school because of socio-economic factors like gender discrimination, child marriage and migration. But it is her determination to study that has kept her going strong. She recently passed Standard 6 with 88%.
Dhapi’s father is a vegetable vendor and her mother helps him. With an annual income of around Rs. 75,000, they struggle to meet the basic needs of the family, including the education of Dhapi and her two sisters. Despite all of this they support Dhapi.
Dhapi became a Nanhi Kali in class 2. To date, she has received approximately 3210 hours of extra academic support.
Prerna Rai is a Community Associate, from Malot, Darjeeling. She passed Higher Secondary at the age of 16 and got married immediately. She is now pursuing 3rd year via distance education.
She uses various Teaching Learning Materials (TLMs) to make her lessons interesting to the students in the Academic Support Centre (ASC). For example numbers and mathematical symbols are written on pebbles to make addition, subtraction easy and fun. The ASC is situated at one of the highest points of the village but the students come due to her jubilant attitude.
Her soul reason for being a Community Associate is to amend the choices that she chose in her past by getting married before completing education.
Hajiya Begum’s grandmother Karima was the sole caretaker she had when her mother abandoned her because she was a girl. An emotional Karima says “Before becoming a Nanhi Kali, Hajiya did not even have a school bag. On being enrolled in Project Nanhi Kali, she got a new bag filled with books, stationery, uniforms, shoes and hygiene material. The programme also provided free tuitions after school”.
Hajiya did justice to Karima’s dreams when she scored an overall average of 93% in Std 10 and the newspapers carried this news. She also went on to secure 944 out of 1000 in the Board of Intermediate Education exams and aspires to be a Software Engineer.
Ishrat is a class 6 Nanhi Kali studying at the Government Senior Secondary School in Libaspur, Delhi and lives in Bhalaswa JJ- 2 along with her parents and five siblings. Her father works as a vegetable vendor.
Ishrat used to help her father who was engaged in rag-picking in the past. Ishrat was made part of Project Nanhi Kali and her Community Activist noticed her irregularity and lack of interest. The team convinced her family to ensure she attends class.
Ishrat won 2nd Prize in the Drawing Competition conducted at the district level of her school. Her parents are now keen to provide Ishrat with all the opportunities to gain a quality education.
Lankapalli Sandya Priyanka, is an alumnus of the Nanhi Kali Project. Her family includes her mother and sister. Sandya became a Nanhi Kali in 2006 with support from HPCL. In Class 10 she secured a score of 503, which got her selected for the C M R Pratibha Award in 2010.
Sandya got admission in Nujiveedu Campus for IIIT (B Tech Civil Branch) in the year 2010. Despite her language barrier, she scored well in B tech. She secured a job with the government and is currently working as an Assistant Engineer in Panchayati Raj, Municipal Corporation Department.
Sandya is extremely grateful to Project Nanhi Kali for helping her in achieving her goal.
Laxmi, from Burari village in Delhi became a Nanhi Kali and completed her schooling and graduation. She came back to Nanhi Kali as a Community Associate to help other girls in similar situation.
Laxmi’s approach to teaching has been very novel and innovative, with a mix of curricular and extra-curricular activities. Her cheerful and friendly behavior helps her engage better with the Nanhi Kalis and easily gain their trust. One message she would like to give all Nanhi Kalis is that “Education is one tool from which we can establish our identity in the community. So use this tool to shape a better future for yourself!”
Mehek is a Nanhi Kali of Class 6 studying at Junior High School. Her father works as a tailor. The family lived in a rented house in Bahlolpur.
After enrolling for Nanhi Kali, Mehek showed improvement in academics. Later, her family moved to Char Murthi which was 6 kilometres away from the school. Mehek’s father decided to stop sending her to the ASC. Her Community Associate, Sandhya immediately visited Mehek’s parents and convinced her father to send her to school along with her elder brother.
Meanwhile, her brother cleared Class 8 and joined a different school, which made it difficult for him to drop Mehek to school. Again, the Nanhi Kali team intervened and convinced her father to let her join a school near Hoshiarpur.
Kavitha is a Nanhi Kali who studies in Standard 4 in PUM Varaganapalli Middle School in Kelamangalam Mandal. Her father is a construction worker. She has two brothers and one sister.
Kavita has a skin allergy throughout her body. This has caused her to gradually reduce her interactions in school and is reluctant to participate in activities. The Nanhi Kali team provided her with academic support and encouraged her to attend school regularly. Through special attention and moral support, Nanhi Kali tutor Mrs. Kasturi restored confidence in her. There was a significant improvement in her listening, reading and writing skills. The programme has given her a tremendous academic and moral boost.
Nagaveni is class 4 Nanhi Kali from Mahabubnagar. She lives with her mother who is a daily wage labourer, younger sister and grandmother in the Maldakal village. Nagaveni used to live with her family in Bangalore where her father worked as a migrant labor. After his death, she moved to her mother’s hometown. Nagaveni’s mother is the sole breadwinner of the family. Despite her struggle to support her family, she never gave up on her children’s education.
Nagaveni is a keen and attentive learner and has managed to attain 92% attendance at school and 80% at the ASC and performed impressively in her annual examinations. Her mother expresses her heartfelt gratitude to project Nanhi Kali for all the support.
Neha Halder, a young and energetic Nanhi Kali, studies in class 3 of Adi Mahakali Pathshala in Kolkata. Her father Ashis Halder is an unskilled labourer who works as a daily wage worker while her mother Pampa Halder takes care of the family.
Project Nanhi Kali plays an important role in the life of Neha. After getting enrolled in the Project Nanhi Kali, the Community Associate helped improve her academic results. She has shown a remarkable progress and enjoys going to academic support centre.
This is the story of Nanhi Kali Ruby from Chennai. Ruby is in Standard 8 and her father works as a coolie. Ruby has battled mental illness from a very young age and this has caused a reading disability. Ruby, however, has not let these challenges get in the way of her exuberant spirit.
The academic support center in her school was started by the Nanhi Kali team and Ruby has been regularly attending the same. The constant care and attention from Nanhi Kali has helped improve Ruby’s discipline of sitting in the class room as well as her listening, reading and writing skills. Her mother is particularly thankful for Nanhi Kali’s intervention that has helped Ruby lead a normal childhood.
Saloni is an active Nanhi Kali studying in class 5 in GPS Sihi, Gurgaon. She lives with her parents and 4 siblings. Her father works in a factory and her mother takes up odd jobs to make ends meet. She also helps her mother in household chores.
She has been securing 3rd rank in her class consistently. She was keen to go for private tuitions, but her parents were not able to bear the extra cost. She became a Nanhi Kali and started going to the academic support centre regularly. With this, she has shown further improvement academically. She ranked first in the cluster of 12 schools and she gives credit to Nanhi Kali.
Veena Vinayak Kamble is a Community Associate with Project Nanhi Kali in Mumbai and she has dedicated her life to empower girls through education. With many parts of India still resisting girl child education, Veena faces multiple roadblocks in getting girls from underprivileged backgrounds to join the programme and ensuring they don’t dropout.
When the Nanhi Kalis are not regular, she knows that the most likely reasons could be their parents’ preference for sending them to work, engaging them in household chores or getting them married. Veena visits these homes and talks to the parents. She has successfully managed to change the mindsets of many such parents and ensures all her Nanhi Kalis attend school regularly.
Samreen’s father is a daily wage labourer and rides the auto-rickshaw twice a week. Her mother is a homemaker. Samreen has two elder sisters who were married off at a young age, and two younger brothers who are currently studying.
Samreen believes that if it had not been for Project Nanhi Kali, her parents would have arranged her marriage. Her father spends most of his earning on alcohol. But her mother ensured that Samreen continued with her education. And her enrolment in Project Nanhi Kali helped in relaxing the financial burden.
Samreen’s achievement in class X was delightful news to her family and they decided to support her education until she achieves her goal of becoming a doctor.
Santra Maida is a class VI Nanhi Kali from GMS Tamboliya, Ratlam. Her family’s main source of income comes from agriculture. In addition to this, her parents also seasonally migrate to find daily wage earning jobs. As a result of this, it was common for Santra to miss classes and her attendance showed a lot of inconsistencies. Due to the lack of sufficient exposure, her parents were also not keen on ensuring that she got a proper education.
However, through project Nanhi Kali, the team was able to explain the benefits and relevance of educating their daughter. Santra has now become a regular at school and she has also succeeded in bringing more girls into the project. The project has helped Santra in developing an interest towards education.
Utkarsha is a Nanhi Kali of Class 3 in the Government Primary School Tinhewadi in Chakan. She is the only child and resides in Tinhewadi in Pune District.
Utkarsha’s parents are specially challenged. Due to this, she was always hesitant to talk about them to her friends. The adverse effects of this could be noticed in her academic performance. The Community Activist and Nanhi Kali Coordinator took notice of this and provided counseling sessions so that she would accept and respect her parents.
These sessions helped her in communicating more openly about her problems and to accept her parents the way they are. Her academic performance has improved and she also takes active part in extra-curricular activities organised at the academic support centre.
Ujala Vishwakarma is a spirited young Nanhi Kali studying in Class 5 in Dindaspur, Varanasi. She lives with her mother and three brothers. Her father passed away couple of years ago. Soon after that, her brothers dropped out of school in order to earn a living. Her mother works in the Primary School Dindaspur as a cook for the mid-day meal and earns a salary of Rs 1000 per month.
Despite all this, Ujala is quite a sincere and regular student in the school and academic support centre. There is considerable improvement in her academic performance after she became a Nanhi Kali. She says Nanhi Kali has given her the opportunity to improve academically without the financial burden.