Seema Kumari is a 13-year-old who lives in Koderma, a mica dependent district in Jharkhand, India. These communities rely on mica mining as a source of income and families often involve their children to support in the process.
During COVID-19, Seema faced challenges, “I was very excited to be promoted to 9th standard after scoring good marks in my exams which were just before the imposition of the lockdown. My school is 7 kilometres away from the village. Both my parents are physically challenged and my mother works as a support staff at the anganwadi centre. My parents were very happy to see my progress in my studies and they promised me that they would provide me with a bicycle to go to school.”
Seema added, “But the COVID-19 lockdown badly hampered the economic condition of my family and my parents were not even able to afford study materials. I was very concerned about the continuation of my studies.”
Seema was therefore at risk of child exploitation, both child labour and child marriage waiting like a storm to hit her life.
However, she was able to overcome this.
“The Balmanch (Children’s Club formed by Terre des Hommes Netherlands) helped me receive a bicycle and study materials with the support of the Mica project. I am pursuing group studies and have been using my bicycle to attend online academic learning sessions organised in neighbouring communities (as my parents cannot afford a smartphone) and attending private tuition. I am very thankful to TDHNL for the support and helping me to continue my studies”
Sanjay Pandit and Bimla Devi (parents of Seema Kumari) acknowledge the timely support of TDHNL for their child as they have high hopes for their daughter to pursue higher studies and bring admiration to the entire family.