Blog Action Day Post – Poverty

Several years ago I was helping a group of women living in Dharavi,( a large slum area here in Mumbai) with some projects they were conducting. One day while we were talking, one of them mentioned that the Class 10 results had been declared and her son had passed with good marks.

I could not see much satisfaction about her son’s success in her face. So I questioned her about it. I learned that she was unhappy because despite having obtained good marks her son could not study further. They were very poor and he had to help his father who made a living by selling snacks at a roadside stall.

I asked her why her son did not consider joining night college. Then he could attend classes at night and work during the day with his father. I could not believe it when she told me that she did not know that any classes were held at night! I explained the concept to her, and another woman from the group promised to give her the address of a Night School that was in the area.

When I went there again after a couple of months, this same woman smilingly told me that her son had taken admission in Night College and had started attending classes. I was very glad to see the satisfaction in her face.

I did not have occasion to go there again so I do not know whether the woman’s son was able to juggle studies and work. I also do not know if he did, in fact, complete Junior College. But I do know that at least he had the chance to try. Many youngsters from underprivileged families do not.

The reality is that young people find that there are not many job opportunities available after completing their education up to the S.S.C or H.S.C. level. That is probably why the boy’s father preferred that he start helping him with his snacks-stall instead of going in for higher studies which would not help him get a job later on.

This is a problem that has to be addressed. Education should be more job-oriented so that our less privileged young students see an advantage in getting an education. Only then will poor parents encourage their children to obtain an education.

Or else they will stay in the same vicious cycle of poverty – no education – low paying jobs – poverty.

This post is part of Blog Action Day 08 – Poverty



  1. Yes, education needs to be very flexible, imagine just learning how to read well, some maths and a lot options in vocational training PLUS a great library. And many more optional subjects – music, sports, computers, political science all studied for knowledge not marks, so only grading no marking here….I am rambling on my favourite topic.Loving these meaningful posts on your blog 🙂 Thanks!


  2. IHM, Your description of such an optimal education system sounds like Utopia! If only reality could be like this.I registered for Blog Action Day but could not download the link to my post. I am not very computer-savvy. 🙂


  3. Ahh IHM has painted such a lovely picture in her comment.You are right Manju, if education is not job oriented, children of poor parents will lose out. On the other hand in ‘literate’ Kerala, the under-privileged are so aware of the importance of education. The parents work so hard and insist their children attend school, sending them for tuition stretching their monetary resources to the limit just so that their children have a better future than they themselves. But then education itself doesn’t guarantee jobs! 😦 So its back to the vicious circle and lots of discontent.


  4. Shail- Yes, I have read that education is considered very important in Kerala.In Mumbai- perhaps it is the same in any large city- there are many opportunities to earn money without education, if one is prepared to work hard. People see that they can earn money by selling food or tea at stalls. Children sell newspapers, books and almost anything at intersections when cars stop for a red light.This makes them think only for the short term and disregard the long-term advantages of education. It would be ideal if an educational qualification guaranteed a good job. 🙂


  5. Hello Manju,Education is one thing, we Indians will starve so that our children can get the best of it.Education is considered as the passport to a better life. A pass to a life beyond grinding poverty and squalor.The determined do and will succeed. You may want to read my post “Spring of Hope in a Ghetto of Despair”.Nice post you have here. Konark snaps are amazing. Have never been there. Have you seen that place?


  6. Welcome to my blog, Mavin.Indians do want the best education for their children. I think the parents’ sacrifices will be justified if a good income can be assured after obtaining an education.:)I will certainly read your post that you have mentioned.We went to Konark a few months ago. The Sun Temple is really wonderful.


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