Annu Kumari – Eleven-year-old Annu lost her father when she was very young, which has created many difficulties for her family. Her mother earns money for the family by making beaded mala necklaces that will be sold at Sarnath’s religious sites and working as a laborer in the fields. Annu helps her family of 3 brothers and 2 sisters by cleaning the cooking vessels, sweeping, and helping to bead the malas. All of the children work to make the malas in order to scrape together a living. Sometimes Annu’s mother also takes the children to another village when there is critical field work to be done, leaving Annu all alone in the house. Her mother has admitted many times, “If I had to pay any fees for Annu’s school, she would not be able to study.”
In fact, Annu started coming to BSS in 2006 from the local government school. Although she was able to learn the Hindi alphabet there, she spent most of her time chatting with other students and avoiding physical punishments from the teachers. Now she says that her favorite subject in BSS is English class. Annu is a little bit nervous about leaving BSS and transitioning to a new school, but feels reassured because her brother Amit, who studies class 6th, will also advance out of BSS along with friends from her village. One day, she says, she would like to become a teacher.
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