Twelve-year-old Sangam’s family makes bamboo blinds for a living. The family lives in the slums of Gurgaon’s sector-12. The minor has never been to school or even seen one in her life.
But on July 8, she was mesmerised when she saw girls of her age playing to their heart’s content at a local school’s playground.
“I knew many other children in our area who went to school every day but all I used to do was help my parents in making mats or play with other girls,” said Sangam, who is now enrolled in class 6 at the government school of Sector 14.
Unlike previous cases, where mothers were prompt in admitting their children into schools, Sangam’s mother was hesitant.
“There have been instances where children from this slum have been kidnapped on their way to school. It is far away and how do we let our daughter walk alone to school?” said her mother, who agreed to send her daughter to school after a lot of persuasion by the volunteers.
Thanks to Rupa Sen, a volunteer of Hindustan Times’ You Read They Learn initiative, Sangam now attends a local school and is living her life like other girls of her age.
“Sangam has lived in a make-shift home all her life. The interesting part was that she and her mother know the importance of education but they never had the courage to apply to a school themselves. She has a younger sister too but she is too small to attend school right now. But I am sure, looking at her sister, that even she would insist that she be sent to school one day,” said Sen, who has been promoting the importance of education in Gurgaon slums for the last 10 years.
Sangam is among the 15 girls from the slums in Gurgaon who were enrolled into the local school in July. The initiative was conducted in partnership with NGO Child Rights and You (CRY).