Kamla too, wishes you happy Diwali

Kamla, a 12 year old girl aspires to become a teacher. She lives in Sagwara village with her parents and one elder brother. Kamal is a hard working girl. She had dropped out of school two years ago in order to make money. However, she has recently started attending the Rural School (Shiksha Kendra).

Kamla’s father is a farmer. He owns a small piece of land. Small land with access to little water assures him food-security for a couple of months every year. Therefore, he has to work as a labourer to support his family.

Two years ago when Kamla’s brother graduated from Rural School, he was sent to a Government school for further studies while, she was asked to migrate to Gujarat (a nearby state) to work on a field for cotton picking. She had to work for cross pollination in the field and later in a factory for processing the cotton. She worked 12 hours a day starting from 8am morning till 8pm night. Kamla doesn’t want to talk abut those two years that she spent in Gujarat in the cotton field. She said “…I would like to forget those days as nightmare”.  She wasn’t the only child there working but she missed her family, friends, and the school.

This year too, her father wanted her to work in Gujarat. Small income earned by Kamla is of a great help to her family. Kamla wanted to go to school. She spoke to her father and expressed her desire to attend school. The teachers of Rural School and Government Primary School as well as neighbours also spoke to her father in this regard. They all encouraged him to send her to school instead. Kamla’s father, eventually agreed. Kamla was very happy at his decision. She started going to Rural School. Soon she began to recognize some words and numbers. Kamla says with much confidence – “I will continue going to school and will try to perform well”.

Note: The increasing incidence of seasonal migration of rural and tribal children from southern Rajasthan has been a cause of great concern. Most of these children are below the age of fourteen years and are forced to migrate so that they can contribute towards the household income. They migrate for more than 2-3 months to work in BT cotton farms and factories in Gujarat. The work is extremely hazardous as both adults and children work in pesticide-sprayed fields from dawn to dusk. Migrant workers also live on the farms under a shed with no basic amenities. Seva Mandir has been trying to prevent children from migrating. In addition, efforts are also focused to create more income generation activities in villages. To know more, please contact us.