When her mother couldn’t afford to keep her in school, 15-year-old Bina was forced to drop out and start working in Mica mines. She was also at risk of marrying early. Luckily, she and her mother were identified by the Terre des Hommes Netherlands project staff, who enrolled Bina in the Balmanch Children’s Club and provided them the necessary support. Join our fight against child labour, help us support families like Bina’s.
In 2021, 15-year-old Bina had to drop out of class 8 due to the poor economic conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her mother was a daily wage labourer in private brick kilns and part of the MGNREGA scheme. She also worked in Mica collection activities. However, with her as the sole breadwinner, they still couldn’t make ends meet.
Bina’s mother tried her best to ensure Bina could continue her studies, but after a year in lockdown, it became impossible for her to cover the educational costs. She couldn’t afford a smartphone for Bina, which would have given her access to online lessons while her school was closed.They were also made more vulnerable, since Bina’s father died a few years before.
“It was a very disappointing moment for me when I discontinued school in September 2021, there was no other option as my mother was unable to afford the fee for private tuition so that I can successfully complete my state board examination for 8th standard. I was also worried that there were inklings from my relatives for early marriage as well,” says Bina. “It was very painful for me to ask Bina to discontinue her education,” added her mother.
Bina started doing household chores and also began working with her mother in Mica collection activities, so they could be able to meet their basic survival needs. This was one of the only options they had to make a livelihood.
Bina and her mother live in a remote village that is key to the Mica supply chain. It is also below the poverty line as a whole, and it has been severely affected by left-wing extremism activities in the last 15 years.
In December 2021, Terre des Hommes Netherlands project staff Poonam Kumari visited Bina and her mother at home. After identifying the issues, they enrolled Bina’s mother in a Self Help Group. In addition, Kumari discussed Bina’s issues with the Balmanch Children’s Club (which promotes education, self-development, managing and operating facilities provided to children). The Children’s Club helped Bina acquire support to complete her 8th standard board examinations – so that she can continue her education. They also organised a meeting with the Village Level Child Protection Committee and Bina’s mother, so that she could be informed about her eligibility to access social welfare and social protection schemes.
In March 2022, Bina received support in the form of educational materials. She was also provided access to a smartphone (with the support of the Children’s Club), so that she could engage in online learning. In addition, her mother received approx. INR 8,000 from the revolving fund, and Bina was able to open a bank account to receive a government scholarship every academic year (for which she was eligible due to her socioeconomic situation).
Afterwards, Bina successfully passed her 8th board examinations, and was then enrolled in 9th standard. She is still attending the Balmanch Children’s Club, where they monitor her attendance. On the other hand, the Self Help Group monitors how her mother is doing, and they are supporting her in skill development, specifically related to goat rearing.
The Balmanch Children’s club members are collaborating with child protection mechanisms to safeguard children’s rights, as well as reporting protection issues and concerns (with special attention to early marriage). They are also monitoring that children continue their studies and encourage the use of the online library.
Bina is no longer engaged in Mica collection activities. She was able to continue her studies: she received a scholarship from the Government and was provided a bicycle, which made the commute easier once her school was open again. However, she still helps her mother with the household chores. She also actively participates in the children’s club activities. “I am very happy now as I have passed the 8th board examination and I am continuing my education in 9th standard. Thanks to TdH NL and the Balmanch for all the support at the most critical time in my life”, said Bina. She now wants to become a teacher to promote education for all children.
Her mother takes care of goats, does some gardening and is still working at Mica mines. She is also still part of the MNREGA scheme. She is expected to receive a grant-in-aid to build a house under the nationwide Prime Minister Housing Scheme in the coming months. “I have been able to gain livelihood options to support the basic needs of my family. This has helped me to remove my daughter from mica collection activities and allowed her to resume her academics. I also spend quality time with my daughter (Bina). I express my gratitude to TdH NL, SHG and Balmanch for their support at the most crucial juncture of my life,” she expressed.
Join our fight against child labour and support families like Bina’s.