In May last year, Asha and Amisha, two of our students from Hunar Ghar, featured in a BBC photo story about what life is like for children growing up in Bakhel. Our Rural Changemaker, Rahul Dubey, has been speaking to the girls about how their lives have changed over the past year, what they are up to now and their hopes for the future…
For Amisha (pictured above), now in her final year at Hunar Ghar in Class 8, life has changed a lot. She feels absolutely amazing to be part of Hunar Ghar. She sees many changes and progress in her life. While interacting with her today about the change she could see in herself, she said “I can understand and talk fluently and confidently in Hindi to answer all your questions; this is the change.” (Mewari is Amisha’s first language, the local dialect spoken in the vicinity of Hunar Ghar.)
She happily says that the physical infrastructure of the school has really improved and all Hunar Ghar students and team get filtered and treated water to drink and proper toilets to use. This has really helped all of us. She really likes how every day Hunar Ghar school is growing and she loves to be part of it.
Amisha says that she enjoys her studies a lot because it involves a lot of different activities and students’ participation. She loves playing games and meeting all her friends everyday at the school.
She says, “Hunar Ghar is really a different school. It includes number of learning activities as part of the curriculum, Community Learning Mornings, Child Learning Demonstration Days, extra classes and co-curricular activities. This doesn’t happen in other schools here on a regular basis and that is what I like the most about the school”.
She is extremely interested in learning how to dance. She herself is a fine dancer and even teaches dance to her schoolmates. She, along with a few other students, helps in conducting the morning prayer and assembly.
“I got elected as Cultural Minister recently as a part of the Bal Sansad (Children Parliament) at Hunar Ghar and I am really excited to encourage all girls at Hunar Ghar in dance and music and to motivate them to participate in all different cultural activities and programs of the school. It feels great to imagine that I will represent Hunar Ghar at various platforms in future as one of the representatives of Bal Sansad. I will try my best to keep all students engaged especially girls through cultural programs at school and community.”
She will continue her studies and now aspires to become a teacher in future. She would like to complete her studies and then would love to receive some teacher training and get specialised in a particular subject to fulfil her dreams.
Asha started secondary school shortly after the BBC feature was published. She is now studying in Class 10 and preparing for her board exams next year. She feels great to be in secondary school and would love to keep studying further. She is studying in a hostel school run by our partner Rajasthan Bal Kalyan Samiti about 95 km away in Jhadol, where she is provided with food and accommodation. She wants to and will be taking science subjects in her higher studies. In her new school, she loves studying science as it also includes practical laboratory classes.
She has not decided yet about what exactly is it that she wants to do in future; she is focusing on the present. She believes that with time she will get to know what she will be good at and what career she would like to pursue. She has changed a lot and interacts with more and more people. She feels confident now and has made many friends in her new school. Asha is helping to support students from Hunar Ghar who have just started at secondary school this year as they cope with the transition.
Asha herself finds life in Jhadol, very different from life in Bakhel where she grew up. While Bakhel is extremely rural and all her friends came from the same background, Jhadol has an entirely different lifestyle. Here, Asha comes across people from different socio-economic backgrounds. She can see herself adapting to a different life and daily routine from what she followed in the past. She visits Bakhel whenever she gets time during the weekend or holidays.
Just in the middle of our conversation, Asha expressed,“I miss Hunar Ghar. I will never forget what I have learned and experienced in my school time. Hunar Ghar is a place for kids where you get to play, laugh, meet new people, play sports and participate in different kinds of activities. If you ask me where I was happy, I will definitely say Hunar Ghar, I have always felt so happy there. I miss it so much”.
In her secondary school, Asha has less time to play during or after school. She misses those days when she used to play a lot with her local friends. However, she is happy with studies in her new school as teachers teach their lessons with different activities and encourage child participation. She is living in the present and hoping to do something in future which she loves doing and which will make her happy.
At the end of the conversation, Asha says very slowly, “I miss Hunar Ghar”.