With the pandemic, rights have been increasingly violated and many children have been hit hard, especially in terms of access to education. Defending this right is essential, especially when we know that child labour represents 7%* of the population in India. Some have no choice but to go to work to support their families. Others are lucky enough to be able to go to school and do everything they can to get by. Ghaniram, who lives in a tribal village in Jharkhand, one of the poorest in the country, tells us his story.
Ghaniram Mardi, aged 16 years, is a resident of a forested tribal village Baboida of Dhalbhumgarh block, East Singhbhum district, Jharkhand, India. Both of his parents are cultivators who work in their small landholding. But his parents’ marginal income cannot sustain the family of 5 that includes his elder sister and younger brother. Ghaniram’s father is an alcoholic, which is quite common malice of the area.
His mother always struggles to meet the educational expense of her children. But Ghaniram’s keen interest towards education and the dream of becoming a civil servant in future aspire him to stay focused.
The support of Terre des Hommes Switzerland and RDA for access to education
Ghaniram encountered Rural Development Association (RDA) run child club in the year 2015. He started coming to the support education centre when he was in class VIII as in his words, ‘I was not able to afford any private tuition.’ He used to be quite proactive during peer-to-peer learning to help other children. He always played an active role in all child-led initiatives, awareness building programmes on child rights, and environmental protection.
He took up tuition classes in the local area by providing support to primary school students since he was in class IX and continuing. ‘I earn around Rs.1500-2000/- monthly and spend the money for school expenses, purchasing competitive examination study materials etc.’
Against all odds in 2022, he appeared for the Matric Board Examination (class X) under Jharkhand Academic Council (JAC). With his persistent efforts to do well, he has passed in 1st division with 93.4% marks. He has scored 100 out of 100 in mathematics.
‘Currently I am studying in class XI and simultaneously preparing for IAS examination (Indian Administrative Services) with a group of friends. We sit together regularly to discuss general knowledge and current affairs. As a part of the youth group of RDA, I am getting trained in basic computer operation, which will help me in future. I am also thankful to RDA and TdH Suisse for continuing education support during lockdown in 2020-21 which helped many vulnerable tribal children of the area who would have discontinued education otherwise. ‘
With its 60 local and international partners, Terre des Hommes Switzerland (TdH Switwerland) works to defend children’s rights. In India, TdH Switzerland has been present for 30 years and works in particular with the Rural Development Association (RDA). Together, they defend the rights to education and protection of children, especially those from tribal families.
Also read the story of Soujal, a young man full of dreams, supported in his education by Terre des Hommes Switzerland and RDA.
*Source : World bank, Unicef, Population data