11 years old and trapped in domestic service – stories of our students

This week gave a good snapshot of the backgrounds of many of our students. Here’s a summary:

One of our students, a girl aged about 11, did not return to school after the holidays. She’s a domestic worker for a family who live in a big house not far from our school. So we called the family who own/employ/look after her (depending on your point of view) but they failed to send her to school.Then we visited the house but the woman who lives their was not in, only her elderly mother. We requested her to inform the woman to send the girl to school. But she has still not come. The girl told us she really wants to come to school, but the woman has told her she can’t. And so for now she remains trapped in the house.

A new girl joined our school this week. Her elder sister brought her from her village because her father was about to marry her off. She must be no older than 14.

One of our smartest boys did not attend for two days this week. He said he had a stomach pain. He also works for a family and they have not taken him to the doctor. We suspect it’s because he doesn’t have food or money to eat during the day. We currently provide free lunch for our younger students, but we may have to extend that to all our students. Students can’t learn if they are hungry.

One of our youngest students, just 6 or 7 years old, lost his mother this week.

One of our girls who attends morning coaching classes said she could no longer attend because her father, who is an alcoholic, doesn’t want her to go any more, presumably so he can spend the small coaching class fee on alcohol. We told her we would pay the fee.

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