Upon entering Ramwadi, you can immediately tell you are in the most densely populated slum in Ahmednagar. You are greeted by a prominent scrap shop, cupboard factory and pan tapraya, where people grind mawa. Exploring further you are negotiating very narrow paths with a continuous procession of one or two people and their barrows, bags and bikes going about their business. Most of the houses are Rahutya, made of posts and bamboo. Despite such overcrowding, the settlement has that rare thing, social harmony, with people of all castes and religions living side-by-side and participating in each other's festivals with great enthusiasm.
Among the migrant families living there is Ramwadi Paris Balbhavan beneficiary, Pooja. Her father drives his life's cart by working as a wage earner but he is also an alcoholic. The family consists of both parents, two sisters and one brother whose financial condition is very desperate. With money so tight, children's education is a luxury and it is expected that the daughters will start work as a wage laborer or wash dishes with their mother once they complete 10th standard.
However, Puja is a very bright girl who achieved great results in her 10 std exams. She was desperate to continue her studies but her father wanted her to work and bring more income to the family. Our Balbhavan social workers conduct regular home visits of all out students and hearing about Puja’s father’s plans leapt into action. They repeatedly met Pooja's parents, counselling them and convincing them of the importance of Puja continuing her education, offering our support, including financial assistance.
Puja’s mother could see the benefit and after some time her father also agreed to allow her to take admission in Adasul College of Engineering. This was a huge step in giving Puja the chance to stand on her own feet despite the desperate financial situation of the family. We approached the college principal explaining the challenges of the family and they agreed to reduce Puja’s fees and we took continuous follow up to make sure she was making the most of her opportunity with the support of her family.
Meanwhile, her father's health suddenly deteriorated requiring hospitalization and frequent medical bills to pay. Despite this Puja did not falter in her studies and we are proud to announce that Puja has achieved excellent success by securing 82.76%. Her success in the face of such adverse conditions is commendable and remarkable.
On behalf of the Balbhavan family, we would like to wish congratulations to Puja and wish her every success in her future endeavours. We would also like to thank all our supporters for enabling us to change the destinies of young people like Puja, we couldn’t do it without you!