The story of the Alam family
Every afternoon I would go out with the co-founder of the Feeding Rishikesh project, Varun Juneja, to serve food and distribute biscuits in the community of Chandreswar Nagar. One day, as the idea of creating a school was beginning to form in my mind, I met a young girl named Nashra, who very shyly asked me if I would visit her house. I noticed that she had tears in her eyes, and that she spoke perfect English, something that most children did not do. I asked her why she needed me to come with her, and she told me that her father had recently passed away. Sensing the gravity of the situation, I quickly finished distributing food and went with Nashra to her home. She introduced me to her mother, who told me that according to the Muslim tradition she wasn’t allowed to leave the house for 4 months after her husband’s death. Nashra informed me that the family was in a desperate financial situation, as their father, a blacksmith, had been the only provider. They were months behind in their rent, and the only income they had was provided by Nashra’s 14-year-old brother Adnan, who worked a few days a week as a blacksmith’s apprentice, earning just 140 rupees (2 dollars) a day.