Mukesh was destined to work in the fields, like his parents, until an ASHA worker, Zuleikha Behn, convinced his father to send him to school.
Mukesh is the son of Hunji Bhai Dungaria Bhil (30 years) and Durga (25 years), and has two younger siblings. The family belongs to an agricultural Dungaria tribe of Gujarat. Most of the tribe members don’t have any formal education and their children are not registered which acts as a barrier in school enrollment.
About two years ago, the family left their hometown Naswadi, for Malpur Gaon, leaving behind some 80 acres of land. They feared they wouldn’t find any work in Naswadi in case of lack of rain that season. In Malpur, they found some labour work in a field, and live in a cemented one-room house on the premises.
a year ago, Zuleikha Behn Noorbai Ghaanchi, Village Swayamsevak and ASHA Worker, saw the family working on the fields and managed to convince
Mukesh’s father to get him admitted to class 1 in the local school.
Zuleikha Behn has been working tirelessly to empower community members, by increasing their knowledge in issues related to education and child protection.
In April 2015, she even won a bravery award for her efforts.
Mukesh is the first child in Hunji Bhai’s family who is receiving a formal education.
Mukesh’s parents are proud that their son is getting an education, and believe this will help him find a job when he grows up and have better opportunities in life.
Mukesh is still a bit shy, but he has been going to school for a year now and has graduated to class 2.
spends most of his time with his school books when he is back home, or in the fields while his parents are working.
the intervention of Zuleikha Behn, Mukesh would probably have ended up working in the fields like his parents. He is now a ray of hope to a family that had resigned itself to fate.
Here’s wishing Mukesh a very successful school career!