Voices + Stories

A collection of short stories and quotes from the lives of our students, parents, and teachers. 

“Nothing worries me. Why would I have any tension? Everything in school excites me. I love math. I like solving problems. I learned to read and write. I was bad at drawing, but I improved in that too. I only think about my education. I will continue studying. I aspire to become a teacher. I enjoy teaching so much. When I see my teachers teaching, I want to become like them.”

"I was 10 years old when I started going to school. I want to become something good. I want to make my parents proud."

"I was 10 years old when I started going to school. I want to become something good. I want to make my parents proud."

“I want my children to be honest, to walk on the path of truth. They should help each other. If you have one roti, then also share it with someone. Help everyone. Be happy always.”

“I want to do something big. I want to be an Engineer, an Airplane Engineer. I want to build airplanes.”

"I want to become a doctor because it was my mother’s dream to be a nurse."

“I had so many dreams. But it’s all too late for me, so I never think about them. I really wanted to study, but there was no one to teach me. There were 12 members in my family, and only my dad could earn money, so I never got an opportunity. After my marriage, life became very hard. We came from Chausagarh village in Bihar. Now, my husband and I sell vegetables. After all, you need to do something to feed the kids. I have a lovely husband and beautiful kids. I am lucky to have this family of mine. But I really wanted to study further. It was my dream. But I couldn’t. So now I dream that for my daughter.”

"The most fun I have during the day is in our computer class. Learning unique facts about animals and different things is also really cool. I love hockey and kho-kho. I would do anything for games classes. I want to become a police officer, because I like catching thieves."

“We are three sisters, my mom and my dad. I am the middle one. We love each other a lot, but sometimes it’s fun to fight with them too. The presence of my parents makes me happy. That’s all I need. I started school when I was 8 years old. I learned English. My books became my best friends. Now, I can write and read well. I want to continue my education. I want to study and be successful. I want to be a singer.”

"My mom is my strength."

"My happiness lies in the happiness of my family. I feel lucky and grateful to have this beautiful family. We stand together and face all challenges together. I want my kids to get a good education and see success in life. I want them to become independent. I am worried about their education. Himanshu is weak in his studies. He always forgets what he studies. But I love everything about him. His grades are not everything. It’s okay if he does some mischief. I enjoy that part too. I was very proud of him when I saw him performing on stage. He wants to join the army."

"I want to become a doctor because it makes me sad when I see people who are ill. I want to cure them."

"We came to Varanasi from Azamgarh 12 years ago. We came to give our kids a better education. I am a housewife. My dream was to become a teacher. My aunts are also working. In my family, women are allowed to work. Before I had learned to always help people and to be happy. I wanted to teach small kids. But in my husband’s family, all the women are housewives. Even now I want to teach, but I have to take care of my family. This too is a job - shaping two kids into successful and good-hearted adults and supporting my husband."

"I want to become an electronics engineer. I can repair fans, fix the parts of cars, and repair music systems. I love to join wires and complete circuits. I want to build cars and bikes."

“We came to Varanasi from Banauli village, Mirzapur. I cook in a few houses and my husband works in small parties, events, and shops. I want my children to understand how hard we are working to educate them. The conditions under which I am trying to educate them are really difficult and all I want for them is to cross that line of poverty we have to endure. Whenever they come and tell me that they have passed their exams with great marks, I feel very happy and grateful that today my kids are able to study and do well in their academics. The day my children will complete their education and stand up on their own and become independent, I will consider myself very lucky.”

“We came to Varanasi from Banauli village, Mirzapur. I cook in a few houses and my husband works in small parties, events, and shops. I want my children to understand how hard we are working to educate them. The conditions under which I am trying to educate them are really difficult and all I want for them is to cross that line of poverty we have to endure. Whenever they come and tell me that they have passed their exams with great marks, I feel very happy and grateful that today my kids are able to study and do well in their academics. The day my children will complete their education and stand up on their own and become independent, I will consider myself very lucky.”

"My father’s legs were both impaired and my mother was blind. She rarely lived with us. She lived with our uncle. My father couldn’t work, and we had to pull him manually on carts. He was sick for seven years before he died. Those years were full of hardships. I used to live on the streets under plastic sheets and tin sheds. We used to get food only one time in the whole day, and sometimes we wouldn’t eat for 4 or 5 days. I had no money for school. After I completed 8th Grade, I had to quit my studies and start working. For one year, I worked for free and learned how to repair fans. I have seen poverty from very close and suffered a lot of pain. I have a daughter and two sons now. I can never let that happen to my kids."

“We moved to the city from the village for a better education. My father works to support us financially. My father is very hard-working. After he comes back home from work, he also teaches me. My mother cooks and takes care of us. She wakes me up if I oversleep in the morning. I have a younger brother - Priyanshu. He is my only sibling and he is my beloved brother. I keep my brother safe. I will do anything to protect him. When my parents aren't home, we have a lot of fun. I was 9 when I joined school. My best friends are Eklavya, Sandeep, and Akash because they help me when I’m in trouble. My favorite subjects are science and Hindi because I understand them well. I go to school for a good education and for my future career. In school, I've learned to respect others and to help injured people when we see them.”

"I belong to Ayar Gao. We were 6 brothers and we had very few plots of land for agriculture. I had a lot of dreams, but my father had me married at the age of 14. For 5 years, my wife lived at her own home. My father developed diabetes and high blood pressure. By then, my two elder brothers had already separated from our family, so I had a lot of expenses. I thought I could earn 50 or 100 rupees per day, so at 14 I opened a cycle repair shop instead of studying. I took money and was in debt. This created tension in my family, so I moved away with my wife and kids. I love my family a lot. I have 3 children. I love them, and I am very happy with them. I will always support them. If my wife or children complain that they are not well, I immediately take them to the doctor. I love my mother a lot. I call her everyday. I won’t let them sleep hungry. I don’t care about myself, but I can’t see my family in pain. I don’t want people to say that we’re not able to do anything for our kids. Mamta is dearest to me. She is the youngest. I did not complete my studies, but I want her to study so that she can work for herself, so that she is not dependent on anyone. Her mother and I never want her to be distracted from her education. I don’t let her wash the dishes."

"My name is Diksha. I am 11 years old. I started going to Anjali when I was 8. I have two elder brothers and an elder sister. I always ask why god made me the youngest in my family. When I was small, I used to hate it when people threw colors on me during Holi and I disliked eating spicy food, but now I love to eat spicy food and I love Holi. I love when my mother cooks and works, and when she prays. Often, I sit beside my mother while she is praying and she explains to me the things or scriptures she reads. I love that. Whenever we face some difficulty in our family, my father tells me not to worry. He will always handle everything. When I come home from school to see them, I have my meal and then I go to sleep. When I wake up in the evening, I pray and then I sit for my studies. I am passionate about my education. When I feel that I am able to develop in my studies, I get the desire to study harder, and that’s what makes me happy. I get strength when someone explains things to me. My parents give me strength, my studies give me strength, and my teachers give me strength. They taught me to speak English. I started reading and writing. I even learned to study and play. My best friends are Neelam, Sakshi, Akanksha, and Seema. My favorite subjects are science and math. I love science because new things are taught about hygiene and health and in math we have to apply a lot of brain. I want to get admission at CHS or Gopi Radha next year. I want to go to school because I want to complete my studies and become something in the future. My dream is to become a doctor. I want that my family will have all the happiness, and that I will join a big and good hospital as a doctor. For that, I can do anything."

"We are from Ghazipur. It’s been four years since we came to Varanasi for the education of our children. My family is together. Everyone is happy. Lord Shiva has given us residence in his city. Everyone treats us well. The room we all live in is nice. They never raise the rent. They never ask us to leave. We have two sons and two daughters. I wanted to be a teacher. I was not able to accomplish what I wanted. So I am investing in my kids. I work as a security guard. My duty is 12 hours, but sometimes I have to give 24. I have learned to work hard and work continuously. Both my boys studied far from me. I was only able to meet them after 2 years. They came under the influence of bad things. I don’t want my daughters to do the same thing with their lives. They wake up on time and do all their daily chores. I feel proud when I ask them to learn a particular topic and they do it. I become very happy. I want them to study and move forward in life. I don’t want them to depend on someone or have to ask for help from anyone. I want them to work hard, be fair to others, and not cheat. Diksha wants to be a doctor and Amrita says she wants to be a police officer. One day they were arguing: should she shoot the enemy, her sister would treat him."

"I have my father, my mother, and my brother. I want to fulfill the dreams of my family. When I was small, the manager of this place brought me here. I love all the people here. There are 25 of us. I like spending time with them. Everyone lives in harmony. We are taught here for free. We feel safe. Whenever I am sick, they take me to the hospital. After graduating from 5th grade this year, I want to complete my studies at a good school. I want to become a doctor or an engineer. I want to help poor people. I want to help my parents."

"They are living here far away from their parents. They have come to stay with us for only one purpose - their education. Sometimes, the children want to study, but their parents, out of complacency or because of their weak financial background, want to take away their girl so that she can work and earn and support her family. Here, they are taken care of and given food and a good education. Health and love are given priority. All their needs are fulfilled, so that they can study. Her maternal aunt left Neelam and a few other students with us. I dream for Neelam and all the children living here. But the dream should be Neelam’s only, and what she desires to do."

"My name is Akash. I was 5 years old when I joined school. I go to school everyday because I get to learn new things and when foreigners come from afar and teach me things, it’s fun and intriguing. At Anjali, I learned to always study well and be good to others. I learned not to steal nor abuse anyone. I learned to solve problems and English too and many other things. I also love to type and draw on the computer. I can do anything for my education. My mom and my dad are both very hard-working. I get my courage from my parents. My mom always keeps me motivated and gives me hope. I don’t want to do anything for myself. As soon as I become something, I won't let my parents to continue to live and work in these conditions. I want to keep my books safe and close to me. I can never give up my studies. In 10 years, I will be an engineer. I want to design and create self-driving cars and robots."

"Years back, I underwent two surgeries. Our kids were very small, and there were times when for two days my family had nothing to eat. We moved to Varanasi in 2009 from Kolkata in hopes of finding better jobs to earn our living and send them to school. I have never been to school. My mother had wanted to send me, but then my father passed away very young and she couldn’t afford it. My mom used to work and I would stay back. I spent my time as a child doing nothing but starving for days and wandering here and there. My dream was to get an education. Now, I drive a rickshaw. It’s a way for instant money. If my kids ask me for anything, like a notebook or a pencil, I go out, drive my rickshaw, get some quick money and give them whatever they need. But I don’t want that for my kids. We have lived most of our years struggling. I’ve never been happy in my life. But as my kids are growing up into educated and thoughtful adults, I think my happy days are assuring."

"Sometimes, I feel like crying when I see them come home. If I could, I would do everything for my parents. Seeing their condition gives me the strength to pursue my education."

"The thought of me becoming a doctor, despite the hardships, makes me happy and gives me hope. When I finally do, I won’t let my mom work as a maid, and I will do everything myself."

"We are from Raghunathpur Village in Chandauli. I work as a maid. I wash dishes at several homes, and mop the floors. Their father is a gate guard. I am proud of my son. He comes from school and tells me that the teachers motivate him to work hard. He volunteers in the school too. I want them to do good. I want to give them a good education with the money I have. I want them to pursue their higher education, to make their future and life brighter than mine. When Sandeep was born I was happy. And when his sister was born, I was happy. I am lucky because of my kids. They are my real strength. They are my real luck."

"I was 9 years old when I started going to Anjali. Every morning I wake up, and it’s my routine to go there. Because of my education and my friends, I love going to school. On Sundays, I get bored at home because we don't have school. New people come and teach us different things. With their help we are able to learn computers. I love learning computers, and the different things we can do with them. My favorite subjects are science, math, English, and general knowledge. My best friends are Vishal, Aditya, Raj, Shivpoojan, and Eklavya. But everyone in the school is my friend. I would like to continue my studies next year. I want to do many things. I dream of getting a job and making my parents happy and proud."

"We are from Ballia. We moved here 10 years ago. My husband was not well. We came to Varanasi for his medication, and spent what little money we brought with us from our village. So for 3 years, I worked as a maid in different houses so my husband could receive his treatment. For 3 years, I was the woman of the home. I financed everything and slowly his health improved. Both of us started working, and when we were able to save some money, we sent our children to school. When he was not well, I never lost hope. I prayed that I would work to feed my husband and children. I would never mistreat my husband nor let him feel dejected. I would tell him not to cry. He used to cry a lot, and still I did not lose hope. I had a lot of power. I was never unhappy. I always told him not to worry. I told him that I would always be with him."

“I didn’t have a dream, because I didn’t have the privilege to study. My father tried to send me to school, but I told him that that I could not continue my education. The work he was doing wasn’t stable. He wasn’t able to save the money to send me to school, and I was not alone. I had two more brothers.”

"Whatever help they need, I am ready to give to them and work for them. I only want my children to become something and make us proud, and our village proud. I want people to say that their mother was a maid and educated her children. I would work all day and all night for my kids if needed. Whatever they demand, I will fulfill it. I don’t want my kids to ever have an excuse for not being able to get an education. When I give them lunch, when my children leave for school, when I see them in their school uniforms, I am happy."