When everyone else in the class wants to go outside and play, there is one girl, who sits silently in one corner of the room with wide eyes and cropped hair. Her story is one of those soul-stirring ones. Anshu comes from a typical lower middle class family; a small house sheltering four to five people, with little or no sunlight, set among a row of similar houses. Anshu is the youngest of four siblings; two brothers and a sister. Having lost her mother at a young age, they are deprived of maternal affection. Her father works at the nearby temple as a security guard who is the sole income generator for the family.
Anshu is one of the best students in the academic support center. She became a Nanhi Kali in 2011 and ever since she has been consistent with her attendance, attending almost all of our Academic Support sessions. Anshu has been steady with her studies as well. She shows equal attention to all her subjects but it looks like she is more inclined towards Hindi. Her tutor has acknowledged the interest of Anshu’s and other Kalis’ in reading prose and poems and has introduced reading sessions of forty-five minutes each day to improve their reading skill. This freedom, to read what they want to, has given the girls and Anshu the motive to discover the pleasure in reading. Ever since, Anshu has shown a remarkable increase in her reading skills. Her numerical skills are also in focus. She is now learning the concept of place value in mathematics, which has already reflected, in her addition and subtraction competencies.
Her teacher calls her The Buddha. “She is the symbol of peace like the Buddha. Always refraining from class fights and heated arguments.” Maybe it is appropriate because that is exactly how Anshu is. However, she has started to express her opinions without fear and is freely mingling with the other girls of her grade.
Project Nanhi Kali has entered Anshu’s life just at the right time. With only 1 year in the school, the project has already had a strong influence on Anshu, turning her persona from an introvert to that of the first bencher. However, it is not a one-way learning. Anshu teaches us that life is probably hard and yet, there is hope that the sun will come out tomorrow bringing down hope, prosperity and courage. Or even better as Benjamin Disraeli puts it, “Life is too short to be little.”