The Most Dedicated Boy

KISHANKishan, the most dedicated boy of Buddha’s Smile School, stepped into BSS  in 2004. He is the 2nd oldest among all his brothers and sisters. He has two brothers and two sisters, all of them studied at BSS and are now grown up.

One of his brother is disable since berth and is now 21 years old.

“Kishan was 8 years old when I enrolled his name in class UKG,” Rajan Kaur Saini, founder of Buddha’s Smile School said. “Every day the family had to suffer for food. Their Father left the children and wife for 2 years. He just did not come home one day and his Mother wondered how she took care of all her children, especially since one of  was disable and needed a lot of attention and care all of the time.”

“In 2006 the situation became very serious. There was not enough for to feed all her children and the brothers and sisters started to fight with each other, they were all hungry. Kishan tried to commit suicide by taking poison — a pesticides that was used for plants in the field,” Rajan said.

“I got the news and immediately rushed to their home. Fortunately, Kishan was saved and admitted to hospital.”

Kishan left Rajan a letter in which he wrote: “Please give my books to other child so that they would be able to study.”

“This made me cry,” Rajan said. “Karen sister, from Amistad International (our major sponsor) will also remember as she was here when it happened. We shared the sad news of this boy and also the joy of his recovery.”

“Kishan Mother started to send all of her children to BSS so they all could have at least one full meal a day — BSS provides every child with a wholesome meal each day thanks to the generosity of Geir Davidsen’s family and friends from Etne, Norway.

Now Kishan is in class 10. He is also working as laborer. He has a lot of courage to face the world and is full of energy and dreams.

 

Raj & Shalu’s story

RAJ & SHALUWe found Raj and Shalu (Brother and Sister) at the railway station slum community in 2013. They simply caught Rajan Kaur Saini, founder of Buddha’s Smile School’s attention and were brought in and registered as students.

Presently Raj is studying in Grade-1 and his sister Shalu in L.K.G.

“It was very difficult to convince their parents to send them to school,” Rajan said. “Their father being an alcoholic and very ill mannered and their mother working as a junk picker and selling on the junk for money.

Raj and Shalu used to beg on trains. They didn’t know about school and school life and studies before coming to BSS.

Now they had fallen in love with BSS and regularly attend school.

As they had their huts illegally on railway tracks, police kicked them out from that place, they moved to a near by village.

With the constant effort of Rajan to contact and trace them out and convincing the parents BSS was able to bring back both the children to school and now they are happy and coming to school daily.

 

Sashi’s story

SASHISASHI is a student of Buddha’s Smile School since 2005; she belongs to Harijan Dalit community. Presently she is studying in class-9th in Kasturba Inter College.

Her father is a Rickshaw puller; he spends all his earned money drinking as he is a alcoholic. In the influence of alcohol he beats his wife and three daughters and curse them saying why they were born to him and also tell them why they don’t die.

Recently her father met with an accident which stopped him from working and the family is literally had nothing to eat.

Sashi and her two sisters had to work as daily labors/making beads/malas to earn some money for food. Again a tragedy happened SASHI fell while carrying bricks on her head on a construction site and fractured her leg. She was depressed, as she had no one to support her and her family. Her mother is also sick and unable to work.

She had shared all her problems with BSS and her medical treatment was done by BSS and now she is started walking slowly after one month of plaster and had started attending school.

She want to study further and her aim is to become a teacher in the future.

 

Shadhika Foundation’s Partner’s Conference

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At Shadhika Foundation’s first-ever Partner’s Conference, for  the women from the several Indian organizations which help  girls attain an education, the Chennai, India conference attendees  included  Buddha’s Smile School founder/director, Rajan Kaur. The participating women shared the stories of their organizations, discussed their challenges and learned more about fundraising for their work.

Rajan Kaur Saini, founder of Buddha’s Smile School reports, “This conference was helpful for me.  All the NGOs are working for women but in different ways and in many sectors with their teams. The conference helped me to learn to become a better speaker even though I am a silent woman but I am proud of the work we are doing.  I am devoted to the bright futures of over 300 children.  Every time I can learn from another person, this helps me meet our challenges at BSS.  I am happy and I believe in my work. I believe that every child’s success, girl or boy, will be fruitful for the entire community. I thank Kim and Shadhika for inviting me to be a representative of Buddha’s Smile School.”

The youngest student

20150805_094654We went to visit the Bengali refugee community in the summer of 2012 and found one of our young girl students, Tamanna taking care of her newly born sister. Their mother was badly sick. We asked Tamanna if she would return to Buddha’s Smile School but she replied she couldn’t because she needed to look after her sister. After summer vacation we had a new intake and I felt sad about Tamanna as she was a bright intelligent child who had progressing well in her studies and I didn’t want her to dropout after progressing so far.

All summer it upset me when I thought about this big loss of opportunity for Tamanna and the benefits that BSS could continue providing for her. She has such a bright future.

So I decided to allow Tamanna to bring Jasmine to Buddha’s Smile School with her. At the age of 9, Tamanna bottle fed the newly born Jasmine every three hours with complete care. Jasmine became the most fortunate and special child of BSS being raised in BSS since at the age of 6 months among 220 children. Even her name was given to her by us.

Now Jasmine is 3 yrs old. She is a happy, curious child who attends school everyday with Tamanna who is now 12 years old. Even on Sundays I am told she waits for the school bus to. Jasmine likes to write on the blackboard and we allow her freedom to go into every class. She is the happiest child and likes to color.

Jasmine is the favorite BSS child of our youngest daughter Rosy. When Rosy arrives home from school she bathes Jasmine putting fresh clothes on her and giving her milk — Jasmine often falls asleep in her arms.

Visiting student communities

Every few month or so Rajan Kaur Saini, founder of Buddha’s Smile School and her teaches visit some of the various communities their students live in. They interact with parents and seek out any issues that might cause a student to begin missing school. They also talk to families of the unschooled children who are forced to work rather than attend school and see what changes they can make.

Here are some photos from a recent visit to meet children. Many children are forced to labor or beg and are not allowed to any attend school.

 

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Save Girl Child

A performance was held at  Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Benares Hindu University (BHU)  on 2nd October 2015 at Film and Media council. Buddha’s Smile School was invited to participate by three students,  Arindam, Anurag and Bhanu of IIT, BHU, who are also working for Barefoot International. The program was organized to help Buddha’s Smile School create ties with BHU.

“The performance by BSS students was about Saving Girl Children. Girls are not respected in India and parents often feel sad when girl children are born,” Rajan Kaur Saini, founder of Buddha’s Smile School said. “Parents don’t worry about the future of girls and often do not allow them to go to school at all or simply drop their education at the age of 13 or 14 years when they are able to marry and produce children of their own. This performance was held to bring awareness and help give these girls some power and confidence and to acknowledge, like men, they also have a right to an education a bright future,” Rajan said.

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Deepak–the Tabla maestro of BSS

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Deepak, who is now 18 years old was born deaf and dumb, yet he is the heart, the hero and soul of Buddha’s Smile School. Rajan found him in 2004 when he was 6 yrs old – a very dirty, skinny boy diagnosed with Polio.

“He stole my heart,” Rajan Kaur Saini, founder of Buddha’s Smiles School said. “His parent never believed he would be able to do anything, yet today Deepak is learning to be a Tabla player and they can’t believe it,” Rajan said.

After Deepak was enrolled in BSS, he got stronger in his legs and slowly, day by day, through play and exercises instruction from Sukhdev, the sun inside Deepak rose and he not only started walking he has grown into a fine young man who has beaten his deaf and dumbness and his Polio afflictions.

Today, Deepak is a happy young man and never misses a single day at BSS. Rajan designed a special path for Deepak to enable him to stand on his own two feet and develop skills that might help him achieve some independence.

“He did not liked my choice of playing Tabla in the beginning,” Rajan said. “When he would see his Tabla teacher he would become upset and his Tabla teacher finally requested me to find another student instead of Deepak, but I insisted they stick with it, as I was confident is was good for Deepak and that he could achieve something very positive in the end.”

Eventually Deepak’s interest grew and with continuous persuasion and motivation from all at BSS he is now excited to display his Tabla playing skills to everyone.

Deepak has now performed twice in CIHTS (Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies). Soon, he will also perform at B.H.U in front of their students and celebrities who will be honoring the events. And so, one day Deepak – the Tabla maestro of BSS, may become even more famous. 🙂

Monu, Raja & Sunny.

MONU RAJA SUNNYRajan Kaur Saini, founder of Buddha’s Smile School met Monu, Raja and Sunny’s, family in a Sarnath beggars community in 2003. Their sister, Chanda was brutally murdered after being forced into marriage at the age of 14 years and due to the poverty the family the eldest son who was also a student of BSS was sold by his family in 2010 for INR 2000, his name is Sonu.

Rajan contacted the local Police Station but she was unable to trace Sonu’s whereabouts.

Monu who was enrolled in 2004 is now in Grade 3. Sunny is now in Grade 1 and Raja who was born in the presence of Rajan is now in L.K.G.

Both parents are alcoholics and Rajan and her teachers are finding it a tough job trying to keep them away from alcohol. At present the family lives in a small shed at the Leprosy Patient Ashram. None of the children or the parents have leprosy but are allowed to stay at the community in return for doing odd jobs like cleaning, etc. They also work temporally in few nursing homes, cleaning the wards and bathroom, etc.

Monu, Raja & Sunny are happy children and are motivated to attend Buddha’s Smile School and to make something of their lives. One day, thanks to BSS, Monu, Raja & Sunny may be able to finally break free of the awful shackles that bind them to a world of begging, alcoholism and abuse.