When Jeyasutha dropped out of school in the 7th grade, it wasn’t because she didn’t want to go to school anymore. She missed her friends and teachers and desperately wanted to study. But there was one thing she didn’t miss. It was the lack of toilet facilities in her school.
With no proper facilities for girls, she and her classmates had to wait till they got home to relieve themselves every day. Unable to carry on like this, she saw no other option but to drop out.
Like countless other families in the slums of Vyasarpadi, when she stopped going to school, her parents thought it made sense to have her go to work. And so, Jeyastha went from going to school to working at a local bookstore so that she could add to the meager family income where the sole breadwinner was her father who was a coolie.
When children from her community realized that Jeyasutha had dropped out of school, they brought it up during their children’s collective meeting. Members of the Vyasarpadi Children’s Empowerment Project met with Jeyasutha and her parents. After holding a series of motivation and conscientization sessions with the family, the team worked with the SMC members and school’s headmaster to lobby for proper toilet facilities in school. Thanks to their combined efforts, they got a toilet built in a years’ time!
During the year, while the project team awaited the building of toilets in the school, they stopped Jeyasutha from going to work. Instead they introduced her to their football sessions which are a unique method of intervention this project is known for. By engaging with children through sports, particularly football, they increase their confidence and motivate them to stay in school by showing them what is possible.
For Jeyasutha, this meant not only going back to school but also reaffirmation that her dreams could come true.
It definitely worked with Jeyasutha who is now pursuing her B.Sc from Ambedkar College through a sports quota and continues to play football at the district level.
Meet Jeyasutha at Aon Soccer for Child Rights on 4th August, 2018 at FSV Arena, Hennur. To know more, click here