Everything will be good at the end. And if it’s not good, it’s not the end.John Lennon
John Lennon’ quote hopefully holds true for our Open School project in Satna. These seven young Janwaar scholars left their village last week with great plans and full of curiosity to start a new learning journey at VITS School in Satna.
Before they even reached school reality set in. We had rened a room for them close to the school. Asha was there and had spoken to the landlord, so had an employee of VITS School. We had paid the rent upfront and thought everything was fine. When the kids arrived, the landlord frnakly said: “No, I don’t want Adivashi kids here!” He was very harsh and even screamed at the kids. They were scared, no wonder.
Luckily Asha was with them. She was battled as well but regained her confidence quickly and stayed calm and handled the situation well. In an evening circle time the kids discussed the issue among themselves and this helped them to overcome the status. The school came to help but all what could be achieved was that the kids were “allowed” to stay for one night. They had to leave the next morning!
The next morning they were off to the school in a pretty good mood. And we are looking for a new place for them to stay …. ! The school supported us and we found a place just around the corner of the first apartment. But same story. First the landlord agreed, the kids moved in and after a while – probably some neighbours weight in – the kids had to leave again. This night they spent at the school, in their guest house.
Asha was upset and wondering: “Why do people judge us by our last names?”
And right she is. It was hard to take.
Unfortunately the school has no flats available. They were surprised by the poisened environment and had no idea how to deal with it. So the staff became inconfident and insecure. After another night at the school’s guesthouse the kids were sent bad home.
We were told: The environment can’t handle the caste issue. They can only handle it when the kids are “inside” the school – “under control” …. they can’t be part of the rest of the society!
I was very upset and sad. The kids have become a playball for caste issues India is not ready to tackle. It was a nice try.
For now the project is put on hold. But it’s not OK, so I believe this is not the end – yet.
A few people offered help, so we are exploring oher opportunities and also teh school said, they would have a flat ready for them in April 2022.