11 year old Arati, 8 year old Bharti and 6 yr old Priti were living at MST Construction site in Dhanori with their parents and a younger sister who was strangely named "Nakhushi" which means "unhappiness" in Marathi when the Door Step School- Every Child Counts team met them during a survey of construction sites in June 2014. Their mother Nandabai Suresh Hirwale, works at the site , supporting her husband Suresh Hirwale who is ill and cannot work and her 4 children.
When asked why the youngest one was name "Nakhushi", the parents explained that born after 3 girls, they were expecting the fourth child to be a boy and therefore named her Nakhushi, reflecting their mental state when she was born .
Arati , the eldest, had attended school till 5th standard in their native village of Yavatmal. With the parents moving to Pune for employment, she had to take up the responsibility of looking after the youngest.. Her younger sisters Priti and Bharti had never been to school.
Though initially reluctant to send their children to school in the city, Nandabai showed up on the day of School admissions and asked that 2 of her children be admitted to school. She was to visit the hospital for her husband's treatment, but she chose to postpone that to accompany her children to school. She was determined that her daughters should have a better life than she did and was convinced that education was a means.
Arati was left behind to take care of the youngest "Nakhushi". She was not happy about it and wanted to join the others. Her mother was reluctant to leave the infant alone even though her husband home most of the time.
Bharti and Priti have started attending the PMC School in Dhanori regularly and use the School Van arranged by Door Step School to reach school.
Realizing that their child would carry the burden of her name, "Nakhushi " was given a new name "Pallavi" by her parents. This is not just a change of name. It is change in attitude towards girls... change for progress ... It is the change that we all want to see.. a change in the right direction.!!!
Arati wants to join her siblings at school.. how can we help?. Daycare facilities at Construction sites are virtually non-existent. That is another problem for another day !. But the fact is that 2 young girls are attending school today and one more who will possibly attend when she is old enough, gives us a lot of hope and encouragement to continue the work we are doing through the Every Child Counts - Campaign for universal elementary Education !.