APSA Dream School
Updated: Feb 7, 2019
As our first week of our internships come to a close, I have been reflecting on the different people I have met this week- students, staff, parents, and members of the surrounding slums. My team spent most of the week at APSA’s Dream School, getting to know the children from migrant families and rescued from other problematic situations. One day we went into the slums for the migrant families to get a better understanding of where the younger children come from. This week exposed us to a lot of different stories and perspective, two of which I want to speak about.
S. is a 13 year old girl from a far away agricultural district of Karnataka. Her family moved to a slum in LBS Nagar a few years ago, where she lives with her parents, older sister, and nephew. Every day, she stays home, helping with the chores and watching after the baby, while her parents work construction. Despite living about 200 meters from APSA’s Dream School, she has not attended any classes since moving. S. said that she wanted to wait until she got back to her old village- whether that be in “two hours or two weeks”. While she is confident that her return to her old home will be soon, I am not as convinced. S. said that she likes learning and wants to continue in school, but sadly that isn’t the daily life that she is living.
M. is 17 years old and travels to the Dream School every day for class. Despite coming from a tough background, she does well in school and is developing her English skills. With the encouragement of school staff and the confidence to pass her exams, she has the aspiration of becoming a doctor. She knows it will be a lot of hard work, but with the support of APSA and her mother, she believes that she can achieve this dream.
Just in a few kilometer radius of APSA there are hundreds of both types of stories. Girls bridging the gap in their education, girls passing 10 standard and continuing on to college, girls completing skills training and finding high paying jobs. Also girls getting married right after school, girls dropping out, girls being abused and girls getting kept home from school to do household chores.
The divergence in the stories of the two girls makes me think about the cycle of poverty and how one can break out of it. I find inspiration from one of the young mothers in the slum, where migrant construction workers reside, who said in broken English that her dream is for her son to pursue schooling through college. The key to financial stability and improved living conditions cannot be simplified to education alone, but as I continue to work with these beautiful, hopeful children at the Dream School, I sure like to believe that it is a good start.