*Names have been changed to protect identities

Shalini

I am excited to see what changes having this new identity would bring.

Age: 10 yrs
Location: Nashik
Year: 2019

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Shalini lives in Nashik district of Maharashtra. She is nervous, incredibly shy, withdrawn and afraid to speak much about herself. She lives in a temporary settlement with her mother and two siblings. Evidently, the thing she treasures most is her relationship with her mother. It is her mother, with whom she shares the details of her life and her days. They have a bond she holds close to her heart.

Save the Children’s campaign, #TheInvisibles, helped children such as Shalini procure a legal identity, by means of registering them for a governmental identity card. Shalini first heard about the Aadhaar card from her mother, and has been hopeful of its potentially positive impact ever since. “I will be able to take advantage of financial services,” she says.

Like so many others on the streets, Shalini, too, dreams of living a better life, away from the slum community that forms the larger part of her small world. Recognising education as integral to helping her reach her dreams, she emphasises how she wishes to get enrolled in higher education programs someday in the future. The Aadhaar card becomes crucial in this regard, viewed as the primary instrument facilitating change. “I will be able to become something in life,” she says quietly, widening her eyes on envisioning brighter days ahead. Hope, after all, is nothing but a way to see light despite the overwhelming darkness, and the Aadhaar card for these children is just that— hope.

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