Stories from India: Annu

by Sarah Harris|May 24 2016|India
Annu Art

Mrs. Prem Devi with her daughters Annu and Madhu came to Jaipur after being evicted by her own family after the demise of her husband. Her husband was in the Indian Army and passed away due to AIDS followed by prolonged illness. When he was diagnosed with HIV, he decided to give up his job in the army because of compounded self-stigma, which ultimately turned up in joining a private job.

After the demise of Annu’s father, the paternal family encroached their property rights, evicted them from their house and asked never ever to show their depraved faces. Maternal family of Mrs. Prem Devi and all other natives of Ratwai, a small village in Tonk district, intervened to make them understand but they didn’t listen. Maternal uncle of Annu and Madhu brought them to Jaipur. Mrs. Prem Devi didn’t want to be a liable for her brother’s family and her skills of farming was not enough for her livelihood. One day she got an offer from a children’s care centre and she was asked to cook for the kids there. She performed her job very well and Annu and Madhu got admitted in the same care centre. A few years later the care centre was closed down due to non-compliance of legal frames and Annu and Madhu were transferred to the children’s home and their mother stayed at another home. Though, Annu was familiar with the institutional care and living with children but in a new environment and with new faces she took two weeks to make her space.

At the time of her admission in the children’s centre her health was doing well. She maintained the pace in her studies as she enrolled in a new school for further studies and performed very-well. Last year her performance in the Board Examination for 12th Standard was excellent and set an example for others.

Annu was not open in the initial days at the project, but with the help of caring staff slowly she understood the kind of environment of the care home, she became more responsible and accountable. She always makes use of her leadership qualities through participation and guides others to do the tasks.

Annu is very sincere, intelligent and the eldest girl who is living in the children’s home. This year she passed her 12th board examinations and wanted to go for higher studies and build her career. Her future dream is to appear in competitions for government services.

After many counselling sessions she decided to pursue a Bachelor Degree in Arts and applied in many reputed colleges including Subhodh College and Maharani Girls College. The Maharani College is one of the prestigious colleges in India, hence preferring this college. Based on her scoring she got her admission to Maharani Girls College. Her subjects in B.A. are Dramatics, History and Political Science.

Annu started her classes a month ago and felt very proud and looked confident. She used to tell the stories from her day to all the housemates as soon as she came back from the college. The stories generally included new friends, teachers and the campus. Recently she got her library card made and the excitement was visible on her face. Dramatics for her is a new affair and she is very excited to pursue it. We were very happy and surprised to hear from her that she is very excited for the upcoming theatre festival “Jairangam” in Jaipur. We accessed tickets for the festival so she may get a chance to see some fine artists’ performing in that festival.

Watch Annu tell her story.

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Child DevelopmentInternational DevelopmentMental HealthPsychologySocial Work

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