There are simple expectations for a family. Parents are expected to provide for their children. Children are expected to go to school and seek their dreams. However, these expectations are not often possible in certain parts of the world.
Mansur Mia’s family consists of six members, which includes his wife and four children. They live in a small village in Jharkhand, India. The family was completely dependent on collection of mica scraps for a living. They were very poor and found it hard to survive. The children were very irregular to school and were on the verge of dropping out.
Due to lack of additional income opportunities and labour exploitation in the mica industry, the family income was extremely low, with barely means to survive. As a result, the children became victims of child labour.
Terre des Hommes Netherlands’ project staff member Ms. Parveen identified this family on a field visit and worked to explore other alternatives for their livelihood so that they earn and provide better opportunities for the children to learn and grow.
In 2019, the project supported Mansur to establish a mobile snack shop and he started earning a daily income of 300-400 rupees. The family found new happiness as it provided means to ensure the children are now back to school and have no more engagement in mica picking. “How happy was my family when I earned 300 ruppes on my first day! I took my children out of mica mining and sent them to school”, Mansur expressed.
Life was good until the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The source of livelihoods were lost and the family was in despair.
However, TDH supported them with food, along with safety and hygiene kits as part of the organization’s humanitarian response. With encouragement from Ms. Tabassum, Mansur swiftly changed his nature of business from a mobile snack shop to selling fruits and vegetables. After relaxations of restrictions in India’s rural areas in June 2020, Mansur again resumed his mobile snack shop and started earning 250-300 rupees per day. The family began feeling a sense of hope again.
Mansur takes care of children and encourages them to attend their online academic classes. He said, “Since our family found a new opportunity in finding a different source of livelihood, I have stopped engaging my children in picking mica scraps and successfully persuaded families in other neighborhoods and led them to consultations in our self-help group.”
Mansur Mia relishes the dream to ensure all his children are well educated, chase their respective dreams, and earn a good name for themselves and for the village.