I’ve spent the last week and a half surrounded by some very noisy and expressive kids! While this probably isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, I’ve loved it! I’m in India conducting story writing workshops with children here.
One of the most exciting aspects of my work is inspiring children to believe in themselves and that what they have to say is really important. Even more vital is that we respond actively to what is voiced; children themselves, community members and World Vision staff.
I’ve been absolutely inspired by the children and young people I’ve worked with here. I wanted to share with you a couple of stories that are particularly special from Vaishali ADP.
A group of young lads with a powerful message to the world; “education is our right”
“Education is very precious for human being. Without education human is like an animal. And education is the mirror of our society. Without seeing in the mirror our self we are not satisfied, same way without education we are not feeling internal peace.
When we are doing the study, we are learning new lessons. When we are doing the study in that time we are also getting entertainment. And because of education we come to know how we have to live in this world. This is a proverb, ‘education is the only means in which we can go forward in life’. Now this modern era, without education no work is possible.
When we become educated person then our younger brother and sister will be aware about the education and they will also be interested to get involved in study. Because of education we achieve something and then our society, our state, our country can become proud. This is our shout in all the streets, “education is our right”. Mahamata Gandhi also told like this, ‘never live like an uneducated person’ and we are promising here that our village, our society will be educated. Without education we are nothing!”
Richardson 16yrs, Navin 17yrs, Sonu 15yrs, Ravikant 17yrs, Jahindra 16yrs, Raja 14yrs, Sumit 13yrs, Suraj 10yrs, Mukesh 10yrs, Rahul 15yrs, Avinash 13yrs, Praveen 14yrs, Nikesh 11yrs
What’s particularly special is that this group included boys from 10 years of age to 17. All members contributed and exchanged such profound reflections about the education they valued so dearly. I witnessed real leadership from the older ones and saw how they inspired the younger ones. This is a powerful example of peer learning.
I wanted to show you Asmita’s point of view. As the boys said; “education is our right” and it’s a girl’s right too! Asmita shared her emotion and experience of gender bias and how domestic labour is a barrier to her attendance and engagement in education.
Jobs stop me from studying
“In Bihar state people’s livelihood is agriculture, people are farming for their food. Sometimes my mother says ‘you do this work’, then I’ve done that work, but I’m also saying to my mother that I have to go to school. But my mother says ok, you go to your school but first you finish your work. To hear this I became angry and the next day I wake up early morning and I clean the house and I bring the water and I cook the food and after that I feed my parents and brother and sister and then go to school.
When I’m working I feel my brother is doing the study and I’m cooking the food. Sometime my mother went for farming work, that time I prepare the food at my house and feed my family member and after that very fast I get ready and I go to school. When I’m reaching school I saw my class is started, then because of fear I come back to home. Sometime I’m bringing the water, cleaning the house, washing the pots and then go to school. When I’m doing less of this work then I go to school on time and I’m living the happy life.”
I always like to encourage children to present their stories to the wider group and community members that are present. Asmita stood up and spoke with such bravery and passion and her voice was heard. I had so much respect for her. Now the next step is to bring the change.
Tomorrow I’ll share a few more of the kid’s stories with you and tell you about the monsoon here – it’s even worse than rain in the UK!
If you’ve got any questions for me about my trip or what life is like in India please post them below or on Facebook. You’ll also find some more photos on Facebook – you might even be able to recognise your own Sponsored Child in there.
Steve Richards is a Children’s Communications Specialist with World Vision UK. He seeks to give the children we work with the skills and confidence to write and speak for themselves in their own words. He is working in India right now.