In 2010 Sunita Kasera made a video that showed that the ironsmith community in Karauli, Rajasthan were not being able to send their children to school. The problem was two fold: the government school near where their home was not functional, teachers would rarely visit. Secondly, they barely made any money from iron mongering and their kids were forced to work to earn more money.
For Nilambar and the other children in his community, Sunita’s video was a blessing. On seeing the video, an NGO in Jamshedpur called Bhavishya decided to come in and help ensure that these children got education.
They roped in Sunita to select a few children from the group and then monitor their progress once they were enrolled in a private school. Though they wanted, they couldn’t fund all the children from the community.
Sudhir Naik, the principal of the Shiva Academy Public School assures Sunita that the children are being given special attention to make sure they catch up with the rest of their class.
While the video brought attention to the plight of the community and also ensured that some of the children started receiving the education they yearned for, for Sunita, the victory is bittersweet.
“My children go to school. I have been lucky that I am able to make sure they do. But when I see other children at roadside hotels and working elsewhere I feel bad. The Right to Education Act is a strong one. I wish it were enforced in a better way. I want the government of Rajasthan and India to take notice of all such communities and ensure that their children get the free education they are being promised. For instance in some private schools, even though education is free for people living below the poverty line, a fee is taken. Why? One day I hope that all the children in Karauli have a school to go to. In time, I hope children across the country will be able to,” says Sunita