Two children in Odisha

by Dinesh Pant

I got the opportunity to attend Odisha state level training for ASER 2013 and two faces remain very prominent in my mind from the field visit. One, a boy named Sahil and another, a cute little girl named Amisha Bano. Sahil, a 14 year old boy, with full Dabang style came across when we started the household visits. He was excellent and fully confident, not in reading but in interrupting other children during the testing! Through interaction I came to know that he was a school drop-out, he already got readmission 3 times.

I asked –“Tum school kyo nahi jaate?”

He answered –“Mujhe school jana acha nahi lagta kyo ki teacher dadte or marte hai, mujhe dadt khana aur maar khana pasand nahi hai. Mujhe jab bhi teacher ne maara hai uske baad mai school nahi jata band kar deta hu”.

I tried to convince him that he should go to school, teachers scold students because they want them to be a good person. But all my efforts were in vain. He poured some sort of supari in his mouth and went away in his typical Bollywood style. 

We reached the fourth section of the village. Few children were following us and among them was

Amisha, a 7 year old girl. She followed us to every house in that section. During the testing, she always tried to peek into the tool and tried to read in a low voice. Whenever she noticed me watching her, she took her eyes off the tool with a gentle smile. When I tried to talk to her she was very shy but after some time she got very friendly with us. We talked about her school and subject which she liked most. She was in 2nd standard and chose mathematics as her favourite.

We got very late while finishing our last household. When we were about to leave the village Amisha said “Aap log hamare ghar nahi aaoge, hamare ghar bhi aao mujhe bhi padna hai”. Her voice was so impressive we weren’t able to deny her, so we went to her house and we gave her the tool to read. She did very well, she read the whole story very well and also did subtraction very nicely but she couldn’t do the division. We all were very happy with her performance but Amisha was little bit disappointed.

I got an opportunity to observe these two kids with different personality traits and somehow I wish to see that every child should have a zeal like Amisha. Environment helps the child to grow so let’s make an environment where a child “CAN GROW”.