Meet Priya*. She is the younger of the two siblings. Her parents are agricultural labourers. While they own two acres of land, they also work at farms owned by others.
On the weekdays she goes to her school, but on the weekends she works at the chilli farms. She does so, to supplement the income of her parents who work there as well. According to her and something that is being instilled by her parents, “If only she works, they will have enough to eat.”
Before the initiation of Bal Raksha Bharat and Santa Maria supported programme in selected villages in Guntur, Priya used to work in chilli fields and cotton farms alternately. Her figures in the attendance register at school were pitiful as earning money was a priority clearly set by the family members.
However, with the enrolment drives, one-to-one counselling sessions and community awareness drives as part of the initiative, children like Priya are coming back to the schools.
*Name and image of the child have been changed to ensure the safety