Arti leads one of 32 children’s clubs in their area. Each has a different specialty, and Arti’s club, named Star Children’s Club, works with children who scavenge trash or live in the neighborhood dump.
Loads of garbage arrive several times a day, piled high atop rickshaws and tractors. It’s a place of ramshackle tin structures with tarp roofs and trash and broken glass littered on the ground — but for an hour each afternoon, Arti and her 11 fellow children’s club members transform it into something else.
Every day a handful of them walk to the dump. They teach numbers and both Hindi and English alphabets, then lead the kids in a drawing exercise to express their hopes, challenges, dreams, and issues they face. They sing songs to teach the importance of hygiene and handwashing. There are lollipops and games, laughing and clapping.
“They like when we come, because they work all day long,” says Arti.
The role Arti and her friends play with the children here is the same that World Vision staff fulfill for Arti and her family — a familiar face, reassuring presence, unwavering encouragement, and helping hand.
Her father’s face lights up when he talks about the change he’s seen in his daughters as a result of their involvement with World Vision. Before, Ramkrit says, they “didn’t have dreams, they didn’t trust. They were in this room only, these four walls. They didn’t interact with neighbors or friends.”
Once afraid to leave her house lest boys harass her, Arti walks confidently into the dump for an afternoon session with the children there, empowered by her own transformation.
She now chooses her own path.
Story by Elizabeth Hendley
Photo©2016 World Vision, Eugene Lee