the new gym on the block

Roshni has been working at our women centre since its very inception. She began has a general helper and then slowly moved on to being a creche worker. Today she even attends adult education classes.

Roshni has seven children. Hers is the story of many migrant families who leave the safety of their villages and come to the cities seeking a better future. her husband is a tailor and the family barely survives. They live in a tiny hovel where one can barely move.

When Roshni decided to put her children into a school her first option was undoubtedly the local municipal school. It was supposed to be free. But as she did not have birth certificates the school refused admission. Roshni was never told that a simple affidavit would have solved the issue.

Not one to give up she registered in some local private school - read teaching shop - where the combined fees and compulsory tuition were a whopping 4ooo rs! When we heard this we decided that we would get her children admitted to the government school and set out testing them to find the appropriate entry point. We were shocked to see that the children, the elder being in class V could barely read. Wonder what the tuition was for.

That is one chapter of Roshni's story. There is more. Her husband was has a debilitating back problem and once again brave Roshni took him to the best hospitals and got a sound diagnosis. But, and her is the catch, one important element of the treatment was regular exercises and when we asked her whether he did do them regularly, her sheepish answer was that he never had. The reason was again a huge eye opener for all of us: their house being so tiny, there was no place to exercise. I confess I could never have thought of this in my wildest dreams.

So in true pwhy style we decided to open the centre for an hour after all regular classes so that Roshni's husband and anyone else with similar problems can do the few stretches and other exercises that have been prescribed to them. And maybe, who knows,we might just start some yoga classes as any form of physical activity is totally absent from the lives of children and adults in slums.

Mens sana in corpose sano as the latin quote goes, a healthy mind in a healthy body. Maybe that is what is needed