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A fantastic performance from Roop

by isabel last modified 2010-07-22 18:34

Roop had been looking after his family's goats since he was six years old and missed out on school, despite his clear potential. Since GVNML convinced his father to stop enforcing child labour, Roop's performance at school has been outstanding.

Roop Narayan Daroga, aged 13, is a natural performer. As well as acting, singing and dancing, he can imitate the sound of virtually any village animal- hungry puppies, cows and chickens. When Roop was six years old he started caring for his family's goats in their village of Titaria. At sunrise he would collect drinking water from the well then from 7.30am until 7pm he would be out grazing the goats. A few years ago he started attending the GVNML night school for child cow herders and shepherds from 8-10pm, then again would be up in the early hours. Again, he performed well and in just a year of night school had exceeded his older brother who had been at the government school for four years.

When funding for the night school ended, Roop wasn't able to continue his schooling. He comes from a poor family and by looking after the animals his father and mother were free to work as daily labourers for a higher salary. As Roop's father Banna lal Daroga saw his eldest son fail school and drop out at 5th grade, he started to believe that his children couldn't be educated, it was only the children of rich families who did well at school. His sons were destined to careers as labourers and shepherds. To exacerbate the situation, Roop had been offered a job as an actor earning 10,000 rupees a year with a cultural performance group. Banna was keen his son took the job but GVNML staff got involved. The Cluster Resource Mobiliser together with the Village Development Committee and the Child Rights Project Coordinator persuaded Banna that Roop should be attending school especially as he has shown such potential.

So Roop has now been going to school for the last year and has already jumped from 4th to 6th grade, he's been recruited into the Child Panchayat, is involved in school cultural programmes raising child rights issues and has even appeared in a government radio drama. Banna has realised what his son is capable of and now has high hopes for him. He's also realised that although sending his children to school may be tough on his livelihood, not sending them is violating their rights. In fact Banna is now so determined that his son gets a good education that he regularly visits the school to monitor the teaching, his son's progress and to make sure the teachers are punctual. He has even joined the School Development Management Committee and is encouraging other fathers to send their children to school. Banna says he realises now that his village is underdeveloped but if they improve the quality of the government school and give more of their children an education, other developments will follow.

Despite this advocacy work, Banna has another younger son who isn't in school, he's looking after the goats. GVNML staff and other local fathers are putting pressure on him to sell his goats and send his son to school. As the Right to Education Act comes into force, the boy is on GVNML's list of families to target for enrolment.

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