Image: The girl in the centre is Prithikadevi

Penned by Board Member Alo Pal

She is a lotus-eyed, long and thick-haired, slim of slight built beauty. She’s Prithikadevi, the daughter of Valli whom I met a few months ago. I knew of Valli’s decade-long struggle in raising her 3 daughters alone and doing several jobs at a time to provide for them. Hers turned out to be a story of a miraculous turnaround in her family life with her husband coming back and now helping her actively run the fruit cart they own, supported by our Social Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) loan. But it was always painful to visualize the girls, their lost childhood, the uncertain roof over their heads, living off the mercy of their aunt and watching their mother slog. But Prithikadevi that morning had come to tell me that she had completed her two-year vocational training in Dialysis Technology, and had worked at an Ayurvedic medical shop since the completion of the course, even as she was on the lookout for a job opening in a hospital. That morning, she requested a change in her appointment with me for my interview as it was just her second day at work at Krishna Nursing Home on probation, pending confirmation and full salary in 3 months.

This is the kind of turnaround in fate and outlook towards life and change of economic status that drives our work at Sharana. With her parents running successfully a fruit cart with a SEP loan from Sharana, an older sister soon completing her B. Com under our Urban Collective Sponsorship program (UCP) and a younger sister in the 9th standard being sent to school by her parents, this is the very definition of our philosophy and its validation.

Image: Fruit cart her parents run

But then

– Why didn’t you go to college too Prithikadevi?

– At that point ma’am, it was important to contribute to the family income.

– But your sister went to college; was the decision to opt for a vocational training course suggested by your parents?

– No ma’am, my father was very keen that I go to college, but both my parents were very sick at the time. My mother had just had a gall bladder operation, and the decision to opt for a vocational training course after my 10th was mine.

– So now you see good prospects with your Kidney Dialysis training

– This is a Diploma course; I will appear for my 12th exam next year in private, I don’t need tuition, my training course material will help me with my subjects.

– And then?

– By then, my sister will complete her B. Com soon. When she gets a job, I will complete my Nursing Degree course and improve my career prospects.

What our success story acknowledges with humility is that our children don’t always have the luxury of a near-linear path from education to employability. Circumstances force them to make mature decisions way beyond years. But we would like to think that we have a role to play in igniting in them the spark of aspiration and willingness to work for it.

P.S  Prithikadevi recently received her job confirmation from Krishna Nursing Home and now earn Rs. 6000 per month.