16-year-old Suman Kumari’s life changed when Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF) implemented the Bal Mitra Gram (BMG) programme in her Village in 2021. She went from working in the dangerous mica mines of Jharkhand to becoming the Secretary of her village’s Bal Panchayat.
But, the transition wasn’t easy.
When KSCF started working in Suman’s village, Lakhekura, our team got to know about her family’s poor financial situation. She was forced to pick mica to support her family instead of going to school and gaining an education. Suman used to work for long hours and earn a mere sum of INR 100-150 per day.
Upon learning of Suman’s predicament, our field staff intervened in the matter. Overcoming initial resistance from her financially challenged parents, we successfully enrolled Suman in class 8 of the nearest school. She soon started attending classes regularly and gained back her confidence. Not just that, Suman also participated in the Bal Panchayat elections and became the secretary of the Children’s Council.
Suman did not stop there as she was determined to bring about change in the lives of other children as well. She started by tutoring her younger brother every evening to instil the value of education in him. Suman even prevented a child marriage in her village highlighting the confidence and strength she gained under the BMG programme.
Suman is currently pursuing 10th grade and stands as a shining example of how education can transform the lives of young children. She aspires to become an IAS officer, driven by the aim of uplifting marginalised children through systemic reforms.