Narrated by Sabita Das, YRC Swapno, Namkhana. Recorded by Revathi, April, 2014.
Family BackgroundLakhi lives in Narayanpur village of Namkhana in South 24 Parganas District. Lakhi’s father was a farmer, and with his sudden demise, the family had to face difficult times. Two of Lakhi’s brothers had to give up studies to work as rickshaw pullers or doing odd jobs. The third brother was good in his studies so continued to go to school after doing odd jobs after school. Lakhi’s mother continued as a housewife and also took charge of the little land that the family owned.
About LakhiLakhi failed Class VIII that year. With the family fighting hard to make ends meet, Lakhi’s education was not a priority. With not much support at home or in school Lakhi continued to do poorly in school. Tuitions were not helpful for her, as the teacher would punish her badly. Her mother thought it was better for Lakhi to help with the household chores rather than pursue studies. By now the family had also started thinking about her marriage.
Sabita met Lakhi while doing the survey with adolescents in the village. Lakhi sounded very angry, irritated and helpless. She had no control over the situations and decisions in her life. She was starting to distance herself from everybody.
Intervention by peer counselor
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Sabita started communicating with Lakhi. She coaxed her to attend the support group meetings held every week.
At the support group meetings Lakhi along with the other adolescents also participated in the Self Exploration sessions and used the Exploring My World Workbook.
At the same time Sabita and other YRC core group members started talking to Lakhi’s mother about her studies. They discussed Lakhi’s lack of support in her studies that was making her perform badly in school. They also spoke about how education would help Lakhi in the future. With continuous visits the mother agreed to put her back in school.
Sabita and the YRC had to work very hard to get Lakhi readmitted into school. First, was to encourage Lakhi to go back to school; by now Lakhi was reluctant feeling that her teachers and friends would ridicule her; Second, she needed her family support to continue; Third, Sabita offered to help Lakhi with her studies without which Lakhi wouldn’t be able to cope!
With Sabita’s constant support Lakhi has remained in school and is going to take her board exams in February 2016. Lakhi plays the role of the Peer Leader in the support group meetings. Sabita keeps in constant touch with Lakhi and her mother with regular visits.
Sabita feels that though Lakhi is continuing her studies, she needs more support to help her with a direction and goal in her life and build her self esteem