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The Children Were Always Hungry

She came from a large family: four brothers and three sisters. Five of them came to our school.

One of the brothers I had to pull out from a garbage cart where he was made to sit and expected to jump out to collect the garbage. This he did and deposited the garbage skillfully into the cart where he himself sat. The youngest one snatched things from other children and ran away. At four years old, stealing and fighting was no problem. The eldest girl, though good in studies, was withdrawn from school to cook and clean and wash while the mother went to work. The youngest girl was quite bright and we chose to mainstream her into a regular school. It was the middle one who continued to come to us.

Somehow she was the one who had to be beaten up and scolded for whatever happened in the house. The father was an alcoholic. Whatever money he earned went into drinking. The children were always hungry. Depressed by the way things were, she decided to drink a whole bottle of phenyl in an attempt to end her life. She survived though and came back to school all dazed. Sadly, this is not typical of jsut one family. This is the story of most poor families struggling to survive.