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London beckons four slum girls

Four households in Lucknow's slums are in a flurry of activity. It's for the first time that somebody from their family and the neighbourhood is going to board a flight. Their daughters are going to London to represent India in the ARROW Global Congress, reports Surya Agarwal.

india Updated: Jun 23, 2010 09:25 IST
Surya Agarwal

Four households in Lucknow's slums are in a flurry of activity. It's for the first time that somebody from their family and the neighbourhood is going to board a flight. Their daughters are going to London to represent India in the ARROW Global Congress.

Kunti Rawat (18), Laxmi Nishad (17), Sunita Singh (17) and Soni Kanaujia (18) are going to leave for the Congress on June 26 where they are going to stage a play, recite poems and dance to 'Jai Ho'. The aim of this one-week long event is to give an opportunity to young people from conflict-hit areas to show their creative work. All these girls have been associated with Prerna School, run by Study Hall Educational Foundation.

Soni Kanaujia works at a beauty parlour and is learning the tricks of the trade. She passed out of class 12th this year. She says that her parents are very excited about this trip. "My mother has washed all my clothes, got them ironed and kept them aside for the trip. She is going to make mathri and pickles so that I don't stay hungry in London," she says.

All of them are a little scared of boarding the flight. "When I think about flying, I get butterflies in my stomach," says Sunita.

Laxmi works at seven homes to earn less than Rs 2000 and feed her family. Her friend Sunita Singh takes care of an Army officer's ailing wife. They both passed class 10th this year. The girls work from 8am-12noon, and then rush to school. Sunita's mother is a labour at construction site, while Laxmi's doesn't have a mother and father is an alcoholic.

Kunti Rawat is learning accounting and is also doing her college. Eight years back she had to drop out of school because her parents didn't have enough money. But God had plans for Kunti. She got admission at Prerna School and after passing out from the school; she got a job at Didi's Food, a non-profit organisation. Kunti earns Rs 2000 every month and supports her family.

What is ARROW Global Congress?

The ARROW Global Congress is a platform for young people, which seek to build a creative dialogue between centres around the world. Its vision is to used the language of art to build bridges across boundaries.

It will take place in Plymouth near London, which will be attended by representative from across the UK, South Africa, Israel, Palenstine, Brazil, Malaysia, China, etc.

Dr Urvashi Sahni, founder of Study Hall Educational Foundation is accompanying these girls.