Ajay, a 15 year old boy has lost both his parents, and is living with his maternal grandparents. He has been a very sincere participant in the programme and has not missed any sessions over the last 18 months.
When asked how he has benefited from the programme, AJay had this to share, “I see myself as a better person now. I know what is right and what is wrong. Earlier, if I wanted money to go to Jathre and they didn’t give me, I would simply take it away from home, or pick up some money from the floor. But now I know it is wrong. I know I should not take away these things. I should be able to earn them.”
He also shared that he has become more hardworking after coming to this programme. “I wake up early in the morning. I study, I don’t waste my time. Whenever possible, I study.” His teachers have also become more encouraging, he adds. “She tells me, continue studying like this, you will definitely pass. I need to do my 10 well and study further. Only then, I will get a good job.”
Overall, Ajay said the programme has taught him discipline, and a way of interacting with the world. “I have learnt that we should be neat, systematic, and behave with others, the way they behave with you. Just like they talk to us respectfully, we should also do the same.”
Ajay is an example of a particularly vulnerable child, growing up with no parents. Although loved and cared by his family, there is little adult supervision. This programme has helped him clarify his moral values, taught him ways of interacting with the world, and also helped develop his aspirations to study well. Within the group, he has grown as a leader and is cited by most of his fellow participants as one of their best friends from the programme.