The small girl who was going to cook in people’s houses is working towards a scholarship today



A few years ago my mother hired a new cook in our house. My mom was working and needed help with the food preparation. We got a lady Sandhya who was extremely sweet. She was around my age and made excellent, hygienic food and my entire family were happy with her. She was always very jolly and often I would sit in the kitchen chatting with her in the evening while she cooked.

Once she came with a small girl. She must be 11 years old at that time. Sandhya introduced her as her daughter, Lali. This girl was sweet looking and very confident. She spoke to me and my family with a huge grin on her face.Sandhya started bringing Lali every day with her as there was no adult at home to take care of the small girl. We had no problems either. I would often try to make her laugh and she started opening up to me more. Soon I

Sandhya started bringing Lali every day with her as there was no adult at home to take care of the small girl. We had no problems either. I would often try to make her laugh and she started opening up to me more. Soon I realized that Lali does not go to school. She used to till last year but she had fallen sick and stopped going, After she got well, she just lost the habit of attending school and she soon planned to help her mother in cooking for other people. I was a little taken aback. This girl was too small to work and she certainly must attend school. All the days when I spent time with her, I had discovered that she was clever and would certainly be a good student. I started telling her about the importance of education and how she could have a better future. Sandhya had no particular problems in sending Lali to school but it was already decided to get the girl married in her early teenage years. I was shocked! I tried to talk Sandhya out of it but she laughed it off.

One day Lali saw my school and college certificates and looked amazed. I told her she could herself win in competitions. She looked at me with dreamy eyes. I convinced Sandhya to start sending her daughter to school again. I insisted on buying her stationary and new uniform. I even got her some rubber bands and ribbons. They were happy. I made sure the girl would go regularly. I started helping her with the studies in the evening. While her mother worked, I would tutor Lali. She was so sharp, I was impressed. She was gifted. I wanted her to do well in school. She herself started developing interest and would work hard. By the end of the year, she stood first in her final exams. Sandhya and her husband were extremely proud. I was ecstatic! My family invited them over for lunch to celebrate their daughter’s performance. We all ate together, it was a very special day.

It’s been six years since Lali started going to school again. She is smarter now and continues being a bright student in school. She helps her mother with housework every day, plays with her friends and enjoys reading books. I am helping her work towards a scholarship for college. Her teachers are extremely proud of her. We are friends, but she sees me more as a mentor. I am so happy for her today. She was a bright girl always. I believe we should realize how important it is that children attend school and why it is important to be educated. Countless children today work in factories, hotels, roads to earn some money. We should help them in whatever way we can, education being the primary. I don’t see myself being responsible for what Lali is today. I just know that she always had it in her and just needed a little push.

I believe we should realize how important it is that children attend school and why it is important to be educated. Countless children today work in factories, hotels, roads to earn some money. We should help them in whatever way we can, education being the primary. I don’t see myself being responsible for what Lali is today. I just know that she always had it in her and just needed a little push.

-Neha Sharma

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