HUMANS OF THE FOREST V - THE ETERNAL BOND
Nazia is a foster mother to a beautiful girl who is now 10 months old. Nazia got married at a very early age and came to her in-laws place when she was 16 years old. Since then she has been trying to get pregnant but due to her poor health her uterus was unable to hold the baby. To experience motherhood, she adopted a girl from a family who already had five girls and they were expecting a boy.
Me: Nazia, tumhe kya lagta hai ki padhai karne se kya hota hai?
Nazia: padai karna to bahut acha hota hai.
Since the day Nazia came to her in-laws place, a lurking insecurity her husband has been haunting her. This comes from the practice of polygamy prevalent in the region. She wakes up at dawn, takes care of the cattle, child, cooks food for the family and walks long distances in the forest to fetch water.
Me: padhai me acha kya hai? Kya hoga padhne se?
Nazia: Padhai se to sab kuch acha hota hai. Isme to kuch bhi galat nahi hai. Padhe likhe insaan se sab log ache se baat karte hai.
Her health is deteriorating with every passing day due to multiple miscarriages and poor nutrition. With all this sickness she never fails to amaze us with her smile and will power. She shows interest in learning new things and always asks us to help her read and write. She mentions that: “ maine to padhai nahi ki par mai apni beti ko jaroor padhaungi.”
Me: Ladkiyon ke liye padhai kitni jaroori hai?
Nazia: Sabse zyaada jaroori to ladkiyon k liye hai. Padhi likhi hogi to gobar nahi uthana hoga, apni marzi se ghoom sakti hai. Shehar me akele jaa sakti hai, hisaab kar sakti hai to koi lootega nahi. Mai to chahti hoon meri beti khoob padai kare, aur teacher bann jaaye”
The Eternal Bond
Our work around education gives us an opportunity to include all the stakeholders in planning, discussing and implementing. We have always focused on linking the child with the mother as it encourages more and more girl child engagement. Discussions with mothers are not only about their children but also their own self. This gives them a space to talk about their life, their health issues, their experiences and their dreams.
(names have been changed to maintain privacy)