Sajid gets his share

Sajid (name changed) is a student of BUDS LiFi (Learning Initiative for India) Program. His family migrated from Bihar. He was recruited by the BUDS counsellor during home visits to identify school drop-outs. He is 8 years old.

Sajid settled in and gradually got to know the counsellor (Shobha). She noticed that he came to the Centre at 09:00 am ‒ one hour before his classes started. Shobha asked him why he came earlier. Sajid admitted that he loved coming to the Centre and told her another reason. He said “there is a clock outside our neighbor’s house. I come after seeing the time on that clock. When the big needle is at 12:00 and smaller needle goes to 9:00 then I come here.” Shobha told him, “When the smaller needle stands at 10:00 and the bigger needle at 12:00, then leave the house. You will reach the Centre in 5 minutes”. Sajid now comes to the Centre on time. “He is a caring chap. When we distribute refreshments (such as; Halwa, Pulao, Biscuits, Cake, Fruits etc.) and his sister’s portion of halwa (sweetmeat) gets over, he asks us for some more for her”.

BUDS has started a ration distribution initiative for the needy in the communities where they work. Sajid was watching the rations being given and asked Shobha “Ma’am, will we get the rations too?” When Shobha told him that the rations were only for the people living in slums, Sajid told her “I am also poor. My father has a small pushcart. Sometimes he gets money, sometimes he doesn’t earn anything. And there is no ration in my home either. Everyone is very upset. I don’t even have a clock in my house. I come to the Centre after seeing the time on the clock in others homes.”  This frank admission won Shobha’s heart and also showed her that poor people were everywhere – in slums, in shanties and tenements and they all needed food because their incomes had been disrupted by the closing of markets on the weekends.

There are a total of 10 members in Sajid’s family and he has 7 sisters, two of whom are married. His father is a daily weekly wage laborer who does odd jobs for a local shopkeeper – like collecting empty oil-tins from shops and delivering them to his employer who owns a small shop. Heavy rains and the closure of markets (due to partial lockdown in Delhi) have affected the income of this daily wage laborer. His earning has shrunk to ₹ 200 per day (hardly ₹4500 to ₹5000 per month). After paying the rent and electricity bills, there is not enough money to run the home. Sajid’s mother is a homemaker.

He knows his mind and when study groups were being formed he wanted to know why he was being put in a group with younger boys. When Shobha explained that the group was made on the basis of reading skills, he felt reassured and settled in. This little boy has won the hearts of the staff and counsellors at the Centre. He is very protective of his younger sister, looks out for her and accompanies her home after school every day. Although he was initially shy, he has now made friends with everyone. He’s a good mimic and has applies himself to learning. He is respectful of his elders.

Prepared By: Shobha ( Counsellor), Sarai Kale Khan