At 7, already a breadwinner | india | Hindustan Times
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At 7, already a breadwinner

At 12, Shyam has lost a lot in life. His father Harsan, brother Ashok, 24, and sister Saroj, 17, all died in Saturday’s blasts. When children his age should be studying, he is worried about how to make ends meet. Karan Choudhury reports.

india Updated: Sep 18, 2008 00:48 IST
Karan Choudhury

At 12, Shyam has lost a lot in life. His father Harsan, brother Ashok, 24, and sister Saroj, 17, all died in Saturday’s blasts.

When children his age should be studying, he is worried about how to make ends meet.

“I started working when I was seven. I earn only Rs1,500 per month. I have a mother, a younger brother and a polio-stricken elder sister to look after,” he said.

Like Shyam, other families in Gali No. 42 Beadonpura too are struggling to get back on their feet.

With many male members dead or injured, there is no one to look after the street-vending business. Most sell plastic tablesheets and television covers in Karol Bagh.

Saroj, 55, whose son Raju died in the blasts, has now no one to turn to for financial support. The only male member left in the family is Raju’s son Rahul, just one and a half year old.

The womenfolk in the community are not allowed to work, so having no male members in the family means loss of livelihood.

Now the only hope for them is the Rs5lakh compensation promised by the government. They also want the government to make efforts to educate their children. Most members are illiterate.

“The blast has made us realise the importance of education. If we are educated only then we can stand on our feet. The death of one male member means no food for the whole family,” said Bhim Singh.