Pinkie is 14 years old. She is one of our highest functioning students. Pinkie is a slow learner, and though her parents are poor farmers who live in a village outside Delhi, they were determined to find someone who could help them. This is Pinkie’s story.
In 2010, when Pinkie was 9 years old, her parents realized that they desperately needed help. They loved Pinkie, but they didn’t know how to help her. In this nation where even “typically abled” girls are treated as less important than sons in the wealthiest of homes, Pinkie’s parents made a bold move – they decided that Pinkie and her mother would shift to Delhi in order to find someone who could help them with their daughter.
For four years, Pinkie and her mother lived in the only place they could afford in the “big city,” a slum, while they looked for a school where Pinkie could received services. Meanwhile, Pinkie’s father remained behind in the village to farm the land and earn a living. During those four years, Pinkie’s mother had Pinkie admitted to a few different schools that claimed to provide services for people with disabilities, but none proved true. In each school, Pinkie was simply put into the regular classroom with other children who mocked her and made fun of her. Not a single one of those institutions actually provided services to children with special needs.
Somehow, in 2014, Pinkie’s mother discovered the Ashish Foundation. We readily accepted her as a student. Pinkie was violent. She hit people, threw things, would not sit still, would not eat during snack time, and ran away from the classroom every chance that she got. She often cried, too, almost inconsolably, for her mother.
Finally, Pinkie’s mother volunteered to help. She came to school with Pinkie, and sat in the back of Pinkie’s classroom so that Pinkie didn’t feel alone. With her mother nearby, it only took a short time for Pinkie to settle into the routine of school at the Ashish Foundation. After only one week, she stopped crying, started to cooperate with the teachers, and her mother was able to stop coming.
Pinkie has improved significantly since she joined the Ashish Foundation. Today, she enjoys school very much. She loves sports, including cricket and badminton. She engages in class activities, is cooperative with the teachers, and is no longer violent. She is also much more independent than when she first arrived, taking on tasks and accomplishing them with very little oversight. Most days, Pinkie is in Ankur, the Vocational Unit of the Ashish Foundation.
We are so blessed to have Pinkie as a student here. We will be forever grateful to her loving parents who, though steeped in a culture which places little value on girls and even less on persons who are “differently abled,” were willing to make such sacrifices for their daughter.