It was a usual day of work for me at the Kalyanpuri centre. A regularworkday turned into something more fulfilling because of aconversation with a young girl.The day started at 10:00 a.m. withkids coming in for their remedial classes at the centre. They greeted the volunteers and teachers inachorus and settled down in their respected spots. The class began with the teachers starting the lesson and the children sitting attentively, absorbing every wordshe said. Their eyes were glued to the blackboard as the wonder of knowledge opened up their tiny world.

What surprisedme wasthat despite coming from dysfunctional and poverty-stricken homes, these children are full of joy and extremely eager to learn. It made me cognizant of the immense privilege I grew up with and the absolute lack of resources and adversity that plagued the lives of these kids. I realised the importance of my job and the impact that I have on the lives of these children.  

After class, it wastime for a test. The children were told to sit inlines as we distributed the test papers. An hour was given to finish the test.The tinyclassroom wasbustling with activity, with the teachersexplaining and invigilating the exam, berating those looking or indulging in cheating.While some kidslooked confused, I noticed Kamlesh, a young girl in class 4,solving the test to the best of her abilities. After the test got over,I got an opportunity to interact with her. I asked her about her test and how she performed, to which she said, “It was good but I left some questions I didn’t know the answer to.Other kids were trying to cheat to pass, but howwill a few extra marks do any good to me?” Her response surprised me with itsmaturity and honesty.

As we continued our conversation, I got a glimpse into her life and circumstance. She lives with her mother and two sisters, one older and one younger to her. Her father passed away a few years back.I didn’t want to upset her by talking about her father, so I took the conversation to lighter topics. I asked herabout her favourite colour and food, basically trying to get to know her as a person.  She told me that she loved the colour red, her favourite dish ismatar paneer and that she is fond ofwatching cartoons with her younger sibling. The conversation then turned to her dreams and aspirations, to which she replied that she wanted to be like her mother.I got to know that her mother worked asa nurse in a hospital nearby,spending most of her day taking care of patients.It was clear to me that Kamlesh aspired to be a nurse and knew that she could achieve her goal through sheer grit and determination. Shespoke of her obvious interest and knowledge in medicine and how she often helped her younger siblings with English.

Our conversation was cut short as the teacher called the students in for their mid-day meal. At this point, Kamlesh wished me goodbye and rushed to join her friends for lunch. Soon enough my shift ended and I prepared to go back home. On my way back, I kept remembering snippets of our conversation. I marvel at the optimism and resilience showed by Kamlesh, despite the harsh realities of her life. She actively defies her circumstances and takes on life with her beautiful smile and undefeatable spirit. Her story fills me with immense gratitude and appreciation for the world I live in. She is a true role model for her sisters. Kids like Kamlesh are our future and NGOs like Nidhi Foundation play an instrumental role in bringing hope and joy into their life. Nidhi Foundations work with kids like Kamlesh ensures that they get a chance to rebuild their destiny and have a future they rightly deserve.  

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