It’s hard to go against the grain. In rural India that is exactly what we are doing. CCDC values every child. We see that each child has the capacity to learn, to change to grow, to make an impact on the world. That starts with educating as many children as we can. We are pushing back against an attitude that things will always be the way they are, that there is no point in educating girls. That young boys will have no other path than in the footsteps of their fathers, footsteps that lead to a hard life of manual labor and poverty.
Meet Sheshma, a smart eleven year old little girl, loved by all her teachers in Orchid school for her humble and keen interest in studies. When asked about her life’s ambition, she says ‘I want to be a doctor to serve my community’. She is the eldest daughter of Shaik Moulali and Mastan bhai, who belong to the lowest caste among Indian Muslims called ‘Dhudekula’. Sheshma is the oldest of three, all being educated, fed and holistically cared for through CCDC.
Sheshma’s mother values educating her daughter, but her father retains the old attitudes about it. He would like to send Shesma to a madrasa (religious school) or to embroidery and sewing training which are common livelihoods for the Dhudekula tribe. According to him formal education is of little value to his caste. When presented with the chance to give his children a way out of poverty, he would rather send his eleven year old to learn a trade.
Part of what CCDC does is teach parents about the value of education. Sheshma’s father has never known anything else. He has never had the chance to dream about a better life for his children, and doesn’t even know how. We meet monthly with parents to educate them on why child labour is harmful, how education helps their families, and other social issues that our team can help them work through. Parents that had started out resistant to change are seeing the changes in their children and realizing how much impact CCDC is having.