There are thousands of girls in India who harnesses a dream to go to school, finish their education and earn a dignified living. Unfortunately not all girls enjoy having a choice or option to live this dream. Non-conducive environment, lack of opportunities, and social pressure compels most of the girls to gradually tame their ‘Ichhas’(wishes), and accept the path of their lives as their written destiny.
One such story is of Pramila (name changed).
Pramila is a school drop out 17-year-old girl who works as domestic help in Mulund, Mumbai. She accompanying her mother and goes to 10 houses where she does sweeping mopping and cleaning vessels. She started working when she was just 7 years old under the stress of economically supporting her family.
Pramila has two brothers. Her elder brother is 21 years old who studied till 10thStd and had to leave studies to support his family. Pramila’s younger brother is a year younger to her and currently studying in 9th Std. Like all the other people in her community, Pramila’s family also believes that it is better to invest in education of boy child rather than girl child. Therefore her brother was encouraged to study and pursue his dream of becoming a policeman.
“Humare mein ladko ko hi padhate hai, lakdiyo ko nahi”.
Pramila started distancing herself from school around the same time where she started helping her mother as domestic help. Her teacher at public school used to punish her, beat her and repeatedly ridicule her for being weak at studies. However because schooling was free till 7th Std she got a chance to study. After which due to family circumstances and economic pressure, she dropped out of school.
Pramila’s favorite subjects are Geography and Marathi, and she now studies these subjects from her brother’s books. She also often helps him with doing his lessons.
Pramila is going to get married in October’12 when she will turn 18 years. She considers herself lucky that like all other girls in her village she is not getting married at age of 14 years. She gives credit to young woman at respective houses where she goes to work. According to Pramila these women have been instrumental in convincing her mother to get her married only after 18 years.
“Sab bhabhi aur didi log ne bola ke athara(18) saal ke pehle shaddi nahi karni chaheye, es liye mere mummy ne mere shaadi abhi tak rok ke rakhi varna toh….”
The little girl’s mother is currently ‘training’ her with household work and beats her if she doesn’t get her ‘chappatis’ right (perfect round in shape).
Pramila, an obedient child on one side is sad about the fact that now her mother will be earning half of what they used to collectively earn (12,000/-). And on the other side she secretly wishes that she doesn’t have to do the same work at her husband’s place in Pune. She exclaims if given a chance she would like to work in a Mall than clean vessels.
“Logo ke juthe bartan saaf karne se toh achha hai ke Mall mein boxes pack karna”.
Labels: Domestic Help, Gender equality, girl child, right to education