Pooja, a sponsored youth in India, studies her school subjects in the hopes of one day becoming a teacher.
Not so long ago, Pooja’s dreams did not seem attainable because of the obstacles created by her disability, but through CFCA sponsorship Pooja has overcome the challenges that stood before her.
Pooja’s long, black braids swung gently as she bubbled about all she is learning in school in Hyderbad, India. The teenager hopes to one day share her love of knowledge as a teacher.
Her mother, Nandini, beams as only a mother can when she listens to her daughter.
Nandini’s pride is even deeper because of the difficult path they traveled.
Pooja, 15, was born with a congenital abnormality; she is missing the lower half of both legs.
Children with disabilities in India face many life challenges. Despite the U.N.’s declaration of equal rights for people with disabilities, many disabled children are denied admission to schools in India.
Special schools exist for children with disabilities, but tuition may be too expensive for families with little income.
When children with disabilities are admitted into regular schools, there is a special fee for extra attention in addition to tuition and other costs such as books, uniforms and transportation, said Sarita Mendanha, coordinator of CFCA’s project in Hyderabad, India.
The extra fee may be 1,000 rupees (about $17) a month or more, depending on the school, Sarita said. The fee is significant for a family earning just a few dollars a day.
Pooja was sponsored in 2009, which has helped her receive an education through a home tutor.
Although thankful for this opportunity, Pooja and her family dreamed of more. They wanted her to go to school like other children.
It wasn’t until Pooja’s mother met Rose Mary, mother of another CFCA sponsored child, at a mothers group meeting that enrolling in a school became possible.
Rose Mary is a teacher at a nearby school, and through her connection, Pooja received admission.
She receives most of her lessons at home through a tutor and occasionally goes to the school for tests and other activities.
“My favorite subject is science. I like science because it is very easy to read and study,” Pooja said.
Through CFCA Hope for a Family sponsorship, Pooja receives the resources she needs to ignite her dreams for a brighter future.
“I want to become a teacher. My tuition teacher [Miss Valentina] inspired me to become a teacher,” Pooja said.
The program seeks to affirm human dignity and allow each person to reach his or her true potential.
“It’s a pleasure teaching her. …” Miss Valentina said. “She studies very well. She works very hard. She has dedicated herself to her studies.
Pooja’s disability prevents her from walking but not from being independent. Her life consists of typical teen activities.
Playing caroms, a popular Indian game, with her neighborhood friends is one of her favorites.
Nandini never stops dreaming for her daughter’s future. Being active in the mothers group helped her make the key connection with Rose Mary.
Pooja’s sponsorship has allowed her family to be able to pay for the additional tuition required for disabled students as well as the regular tuition fees.
Help children and aging friends overcome the obstacles they face — whether it is a disability or living in poverty, you can help give them hope for a better future.