|Rajal Bajaniya : A Sponsored child by |
In Gujarat 40 of the 144 communities that feature in the State Government’s list of socially and educationally backward communities are from the Nomadic and De-notified Tribes. Based on our learning it can be said that children of 12 of these communities are first generation learners. Whereas in few other communities the educational scenario is so distressing that one can count the number of 10th standard pass children on finger tips. 14 of these NT and DNT communities are extremely marginalized and in need of special impetus for development
Rajal Bajaniyaa is an inspirational young girl from the Harij in Patan and belongs to one of the 14 extremely marginalised nomadic communities. Bajaniyaa is a fairly large and wide-spread community but survives under primitive and regressive social practices and ills. Illiteracy, unemployment, child marriages, ignorance are just few of the challenges these community reels under. Education is not seen as obligatory within this community while girl child education is absolutely unheard of and child marriages are a norm.
Rajal’s father Mohanbhai earned his living as ear and nose piercer and selling artificial jewellery in a glass box. During the times when VSSM had just began gathering primary information on the nomads, Mohanbhai tried helping and supporting the organisation in the manner he could, most of the times spending his own money to support the organisation. He also spread the word on VSSM amongst his community. In 2008 when VSSM received money to form a team it asked Mohanbhai to be a part of the team. He readily joined the team accepting whatever little remuneration VSSM than offered.
Once he began to get actively involved and absorbed the principles of VSSM he understood the importance of education and focused on sending his children to school. Rajal joined the Doliya Hostel when she was in grade 2. Mohanbhai dreams of educating Rajal all the way and make her a role model in their community. Rajan is sharp and good in her studies. Today she is a grade 7 student at Ahmedabad’s H. B. Kapadia School. Rajal’s exuberance and zeal to do better is reflected in her all round development and her participation in various co-curricular activities. Watching her bloom into a confident young girl, the members of her community are wanting to send their daughters to hostel as well.
Recently when VSSM talked to its well-wisher’s about its child-sponsorship program Ahmedabad’s Mitaben Thakkar offered her committment to sponsor the complete educational expense of Rajal until she wants to study.