Dreams Take Wings...

Dec. 31, 2013
Asmin and her family. Asmin is wearing her blue school uniform.

Asmin is the daughter of Shamshad and Husan Bano, who live in a small one-room house in Indira Camp No.4, Vikas Puri in Delhi. Shamshad is a small-time tailor who earns about Rs.3000 (USD 60) per month, while Husan Bano wife works as a housemaid earning about Rs.1200 (USD 24) per month. With this meager income, Shamshad and Husan Bano have to support Asmin and her five siblings. Shamshad regrets not having studied beyond Grade-8 when he was young. He realizes that education opens the flood-gates of opportunities and wants his children to study well. His wife - Husan Bano - is completely illiterate, but she too wants her children to be well-educated. They find that their own lack of education is a big handicap in helping their children study well. They somehow manage to pay for after-school tuition for their eldest daughter Shaheen who studies in grade-9, but are unable to afford it for their younger children including Asmin. Asmin studies in Grade-4 at the neighboring government primary school. Her parents want her to be either a teacher or an advocate. But for now she is struggling with her grade-4 concepts. In May 2011, Asmin was enrolled in the Learning Rewards program of Shiksha Sankalp. Based on her performance in the Standardized Academic Performance (SAP Test), Shiksha Sankalp started paying her Rs. 463 per month into her mother’s bank account. The money not only encouraged Asmin to study harder, but also gave confidence to her parents. Asmin again appeared for the SAP test in September 2011. Although she demonstrated improved learning, her peers in Shiksha Sankalp performed even better than her. As a result, her stipend amount got reduced to Rs. 407 per month. This was a clear signal to her family that she needed to work harder. Shiksha Sankalp volunteers discussed Asmin’s performance with Shamshad and Husan Bano. The volunteers pointed out that although Asmin is good at studies, others are out-performing her because they are availing after-school tuition support from local service providers. They explained that support being provided by Shiksha Sankalp would decrease if Asmin did not continuously keep up with her peers. They advised Shamshad and Husan Bano to use a part of the Learning Rewards money for availing after-school tuition support for Asmeen. Recently, Asmin’s younger sister Muskan who studies in Grade-3 was also enrolled for the Learning Rewards program. She has been receiving a scholarship of Rs. 258 per month since November 2011. Shamshad and Husan Bano now feel encouraged to enroll both Asmeen and Muskan at a local tuition center in the vicinity. Learning Rewards have given them the confidence that their children’s dreams are not out of their reach. Of course, it is still a long way to go... <b>This is the impact story of Asmin (Student ID SC-1-10-045-0001), who lives at 25, Indira Camp No.4, Vikas Puri, New Delhi-110018, India.</b>