11-year-old Nargis lives in a temporary makeshift house in a slum situated on top of the canal in Kolkata. She lives with her parents who work very hard to support the family, Nargis understands the importance of education and is a regular at her school. The only dream she has is to get her family out of their current situation.
Even though Nargis has to work with her mother after school, the girl is confident enough to talk about her studies and always looks forward to going to school. She is extremely energetic about her lessons. Talking about this aspect, she said, “I want to live with my parents, they love and support me, but I do want a better house to live in, and I will make that happen when I grow up.”
She says that she wants a better house because she doesn’t feel too safe where the family currently stays. “I feel safe at home but I get scared of the people who live around us, they abuse, do drugs and all other sorts of illegal things. This is the reason that I do not have any friends in the area, the only children I speak to are at my school. I rarely go out of the house and only help my family in the chappal (slippers) cutting work inside my home after coming back from school. My father and mother are very kind to me, they spend a lot of money on my books and school and they make sure that I remain safe always. On school holidays when both my parents are at work, I get a bit scared of the colony people but I never venture out during that time. I have a tuition teacher here, an older girl who is a college graduate, she also helps me feel safe.”
She already has an Adhaar Card which helped her get enrolled in school when asked about what changes she wants to see the future she said, “I want to go to an English medium school where I can learn how to speak English properly, this will allow me to get better jobs when I graduate. As a family we need to move out of here but we can only do that if we have more money.” Her mother added, “She is the smartest in our family and we are sure that she will get a well-paying job when she grows up and will make us very proud.”
Bal Raksha Bharat is working in 4 states in India to provide legal identity for children in street situations. We have reached out to more than 48000 children with legal identity cards and connected them to their rights and entitlements.