Around 13 years ago, Ramesh and his wife Basanti came from Nagpur to New Delhi to find a better life. A few years later, Basanti gave birth to little Pooja on the streets of Nehru Place in Delhi. Pooja was born on and has lived on these streets ever since.
In 2010, her mother’s health depleted and she passed away. Her father stopped working and became an alcoholic.
10 year old Pooja became the only earning member of the family.
Her day would begin at 4 am picking rags and collecting garbage to make a living. She felt deprived of love and affection and started spending a lot of time with other children on streets. This led her to indulge in substance abuse. Working and begging, she assumed life would go on the same way.
Luckily, Pooja’s life turned over a new leaf when she was introduced to Save the Children Learning Centre in late 2010. Crayons, notebooks and Shivani Ma’am became her new best friends. The love and comfort at the Centre helped her to quit using fluid (substance abuse).
In between, her father had sent her to work in an affluent household of West Delhi as a domestic help. However, we rescued Pooja and brought her back. Her father was counseled and had to be convinced that it is wrong to make his 10 year old daughter work.
Pooja's Report Card
“My name is Pooja.”
Pooja can now make sentences. She can even count till 100.
“Pooja is a very quick learner. She has a very neat handwriting. She even paints beautifully,” says Pooja’s teacher Shivani ma’am, “It is a pleasure to see this child growing up into such a bright person.”
Pooja and Friends
We asked Pooja if she has a message for our supporters. Sorry, she refused to answer! She was busy playing with her classmates.
Bobby, Anisha, Pradhan, Suraj, Kaloo... Pooja has a long list of friends now. She is not deprived of love anymore.
Pooja has given a new meaning to her life. She has left behind her dark days and is moving towards a brighter future.
Small steps towards the ‘Big School’...
Pooja was enrolled in a government school in April this year.
She is also coming to our Learning Centre regularly.
Pooja’s teacher at the learning center has been motivating her to regularly attend classes at the the government school.
The small steps have finally led Pooja to the ‘big school’.
Thank You Aviva
Save the Children’s Street to School programme, supported by Aviva is helping us reach out to hundreds of street and working children like Pooja in Delhi and Kolkata.
Under the project:
We are also improving attitude and increased awareness amongst the trade unions and shop keepers towards street children. We are also working to increase sensitivity being demonstrated by the police and positive recognition of the initiative by government officials.