This is a lovely true story that has been written and researched by our colleague Nirmala Casey. She is from UEMS (Urban Environment Management Society), the NGO with whom we collaborated on our visits to the brick kilns. She sees the benefits of arts practice in communities and is a great supporter of our work. This is a story about Niroj Majhi who lives in the brick kilns.
His first day at school was when we were having our painting class. They produced this beautiful Paul Klee style painting. We have republished this article with the kind permission Nirmala Casey and UEMS – thanks for sharing it!
I joined the school even after coming to the brick kilns
Niroj Majhi, 14 years, had come from Raigaun, Makwanpur to Bajrabarahi brick kiln with his father. His father is a brick moulder(brick maker). As per his father, Khil Bahadur Majhi, Niroj was studying in grade 7 in Shree Bagmati Secondary School in his village. At first, when we (UEMS) met his father and told to send Niroj to the nearby Navajyoti School, his father directly said that if Niroj joined the school, the number of bricks will be less. Later on, after counseling and Niroj himself’s insist, his father sent him the school regularly. This year, they did not return back to Makwanpur. They stayed in Chapagaun in rent and Niroj regularly attended the school. Now, the season has been started and they have been shifted to the brick kiln.
“My name is Niroj Majhi. I am 14 years old. I study in grade 8 in Navajyoti School of Jharuwarashi, Lalitpur. Last year, I had come to the brick kiln with my father to help in brick making purpose. In last season, when I was making bricks with my father, Seeta(UEMS mobilize) miss came to talk with my father to send me to the school. At first, my father did not allow.
He said that if I joined the school, the number of bricks will be less. Miss again came again and asked my father. This time he was looking positive and sent me in the remedial class of Navajyoti. I enjoyed with drawings and crayons. I enjoyed a lot. We made a beautiful picture. While returning from school, miss asked me whether I liked to join the school or not. I said yes. Then she asked me to counsel my father. I told my father that I would help him in the morning and evening time and join the school in day time. Then my father allowed me to attend the school regularly.”
Niroj was happy to join the school and continue his study. He is proactive and having learning nature. Many children come to the brick kilns in between the session of school. They join the work with their family members in the bricks. They give the final exam even after 4/5 months gap in school. Their performance becomes low in school. Again the same process repeats for 2/3 years and finally the child doesnot continue the study. Many school aged children have suffered the same process and dropped out the school. But we are happy that the process above mentioned did not sweep away Niroj with it and he is continuing his study.
Date: 13th December 2016