Rinki Kumari – Like most of the other students, 13 year-old Rinki packs many activities into each of her busy days. She describes that every day after school she helps with the cooking, cleaning, and washing. When she finishes this work, Rinki works at stringing beaded mala necklaces with her mother, which will be sold to merchants who will sell them at the many Buddhist religious sites in Sarnath. Only after all of this is done can she give her full attention to finishing her homework.
Rinki is one of 6 children in her family. Her one sister Pinki used to study at BSS, but was sent to her grandmother’s house in another village to become a wage-earner working as a maid. Although they could not adequately provide for their existing children, Rinki’s family – like many in the area – desired a male child. After having 5 girls, a boy has been born into the family just recently. Her father has not been able to find work and instead wanders around the village during the days, drinking locally-made liquor and often spending all of the family’s money without any provision for food. Since Rinki’s father is out, Rinki’s mother works from before dawn to after dusk each day, cleaning houses, stringing mala necklaces, and finding any other work that will help to feed her children.
Despite the hardship she faces, Rinki optimistically asserts, “if we study a lot, we can become anything we want.” At BSS, Rinki’s favorite subject is English, and she says she would like to become a teacher for grade 10 students one day.
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