Is it possible for a child from the slums to shine at an exclusive boarding school?
It sounds like a rude question, but wait till you’ve heard about the Project Why Power Girls.
Meet Meher, Manisha and Babli.
Meher, who topped her class is a third degree burn survivor born into a very poor family. The fingers in both her hands were fused as a result of her accident, which led to her being abandoned on the streets at the age of three. Project Why found her scavenging in discarded plates strewn next to the local sweetshop. Everyone fell in love with this bright, determined and impish child and her near-say-die attitude. A volunteer present at that time had contacts with doctors and access to funds, and was able to help with reconstructive surgery on Meher’s hands. Once she healed and got back the use of her hands, off she went to boarding school.
Babli came to Project Why we realised she needed reconstructive cardiac surgery to mend a hole in her heart. A little woman of substance who dreamt big despite being barely able to breathe: Babli wanted to be a 'police'! A magical network of volunteers and donors helped her to surgery. Upon recovery, she was put to work by her parents, a problem to which Project Why could find the one solution again, like Meher. The boarding school.
Manisha was a student of our crèche. She came from a very poor parents. Ragpicking and alcoholism meant they couldn’t give Manisha a good upbringing. One of our donors, having heard about our boarding school programme at the time, wanted to sponsor a little girl. Everyone at Project Why believed Manisha should be the one.
Project Why's Boarding School Programme symbolises everything Project Why stands for and believes in: every child’s right to quality education in an enabling environment. A proponent of the neighbourhood common school, Project Why believes that children form different social and economic backgrounds should study together, each one learning from the other.
Sending these girls to boarding school ensured just that.
Last week at their school’s Annual Day, Meher, Babli and Manisha, our Power Girls stood 1st, 2nd and 3rd in their respective classes.
For us, it was a dual celebration.
We saw the usual luminaries and guests, the speeches, the cultural programme and everything that happens on such occasions, but also two very special moments: the prize distribution and the dinner.
During these, a bunch of proud parents belonging to the poorest strata of society not only shared the space with the high and mighty but were the parents of three incredible, prize-winning girls.
For that instant, all barriers fell, all lines were obliterated and it did not matter who you were or where you came from. It was magical.
Do you think education should be equal for all children? What would you say to Meher, Babli and Manisha? Would you like to sponsor a child to go to boarding school?
To know more about these girls:
Life on a planet is born of woman
A tiny woman of substance
A perfect day
My never fail feel good shot
Huge eyes in a scarred face
The key to her morrows
I am here to stay
|Meher Manisha Babli|
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