All her life, eleven year old Preeti has lived in the slums of Agra, with her parents and four siblings. Friendly, conversational and happy-go-lucky right from the first interaction, she attends a government run school nearby. There is one thing which stands out during the entire conversation with Preeti: her love for school. The young girl, eager to get her pictures clicked, stood proudly in her outfit of choice— the school’s uniform. Though happy to learn and to be able to attend school regularly, a noticeable source of discontentment arose from being unable to reach school on time earlier in the day. “I am working the previous night, helping my mother with household chores. I become so tired, and always get late for school,” sighed Preeti.
Save the Children’s campaign, #TheInvisibles, helped several children like Preeti to procure a legal identity card. Preeti is fascinated with having an Aadhaar card, and the doors it opens up. “My younger brother got his card. He now attends nursery school— I never went to nursery school. They have so many games and toys there for children to play with,” she says with evident amazement in her eyes. “I got my health insurance, and now, my mother says that if I ever fall ill, she would be able to take me to a good hospital,” Preeti adds with delight.
Like so many of these children, Preeti also recognises the importance of education and how it can be a catalyst of change. “I never go outside. People gamble and drink a lot of alcohol, which really scares me,” she says, describing the risky conditions of living. “I want to finish my studies and get a job,” declares Preeti, right after she starts reciting a wonderful poem in Hindi. On finishing her poetic narration, she smiles, equipped with the identity card which changes life and re-instills her hope for a better tomorrow.
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