It was a Wednesday; Ms Jeba came to village Purampur, which is a small village consisting of 65 families. She was newly joined in Prayatn Sanstha as a Community Organizer. This was her second visit to Purampur village. As soon as she arrived, a group of women came to her and enquired the reason of her arrival. She said “I am working in an organization, now I am here to collect house hold details of your village”. Suddenly, one among them said “62 families of Bheel Community and 3 Sahariya Community resides in our village”. Jeba was overjoyed by their positive response towards the objective of her visit. She asked them to take her to those three families, who are belongs to Sahariya community. They have directed her to the first family and then to the second. All the questions in her survey questionnaire has been completed and she then moved to the final house. She knocked the door and an adolescent girl came out. Jeba asked her name, she replied “My name is Lachha”. She completed the survey questionnaire and returned to office in order to prepare the final report as per the household survey observations.

Jeba has submitted the final report to Mr. Gajan Lal, Project Officer of Prayatn Sanstha and ensured to highlight the name Lachha with bold marker. He observed it carefully and asked her the reason of highlighting the name ‘Lachha’. Jeba narrated the story that has been orally communicated by the girl during the house visit.

Lachha was a bright student in class 9th. There was only a primary school in her village; therefore she had to travel to Kasba Nonera, about 5 km from her village. She used to attend school, every day riding cycle with her friends. It was then COVID cases rapidly increased in her village and educational institutions were closed. She became very sad, because the schooling was not possible. Slowly, situations normalized and institutions reopened. But Lachha didn’t realize that her classes are again started following COVID protocols. Almost two months after, through someone in her village, she came to know that school is reopened. She got ready, wore her uniform and rode her bicycle to school. She went and sat with her friends in class 10th and started to chat each other.

Class teacher came to class; as usual he called out the attendance of the students who were present in the class. But the name ‘Lachha’ was not mentioned in the Attendance register. Suddenly, class teacher took her to Head Master’s office for further investigation. Unfortunately, HM said that her name stroke off the list of board student’s, due to continuous absence in the class. “Now we can’t help you out”, HM has expressed his helplessness.

With a heavy heart she has returned to her class room and grabbed the bag pack and headed to her village. All her friends sentimentally watched her steps. She came home and explained the same to her parents. Her mother said to her “it is your fate and our gods don’t want you to learn more like high caste children do”. With tears she went to bed. Next morning, she walked up aimlessly without having a hope of continuing her education. She started to engage in household chores and field works to assist her mother. She also started to go with her mom for earning the daily wages.

This was on that morning; Jeba from Prayatn Sanstha visited her and prepared a survey discussing details about her family. Now this became a significant issue for the organization. As soon as Prayatn started working in the village in 2022, team ensured to form Community-based Institutions in all the targeted villages, like Bal Manch for the children, Village Development Committee for the adults and Kishori Manch for the adolescent girls in the community. In village Purampur also all these groups started to function. Community Organizers ensured to strengthen the committees through regular meetings by setting up rules and regulations of the committees. They discussed the issues related to education, health, nutrition and sanitation. Especially the importance of girl child education and discrimination between boys and girls remained as prime focus all through the meetings. Through the support of these committees, project initiated various awareness programmes in the villages. Under the leadership of former Sarpanch Mr. Kadulal and Mr. Pappulal few other village development committee (VDC) members have taken up responsibility for identifying dropout children in the village.

During one of these meetings of the Village Development Committee (VDC), CO shared information’s about various facilities run by government for those children who are drop outs and to promote girl child education such as residential schools, hostels, Rajasthan State Open School etc. Suddenly, Mr. Mohan Lal Sahariya, father of Lachha started to enquire more about those institutions. He explained the current situation of his daughter and her eagerness to study further, before all the committee members. VDC cordially ensured to support him in order to emanate her dream true. With their support he visited school and collected Transfer Certificate, marksheet and other supportive documents.

Under the guidance CO, Lachha’s father filled the form in class 10th and took her admission in Rajasthan State Open School. Mr. Gajan Lal, Project Officer, Prayatn, in the meantime, approached – CECOEDECON, another NGO that runs residential school for tribal girls in Shahabad under the scheme “Dropout Sahariya Kishori Balika Shikshan Shivir” and talked for admission of Lachha. The administration of the institution allowed the admission in the subsequent session to prepare for open school exam. Formalities of admission were completed in time. Presently, Lachha is staying in the hostel and studying in class 10th. Lachha and her family are very glad for the Village Development Committee (VDC) in her village and the organization for taking up such an initiative to fulfill the dream of her education. Everyone in her village is happy for her and inspired to educate each and every child in Purampur village.

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