Leaving her mud hut with its dirt floor and tin roof for the bright lights and solid walls of Christel House Lavasa was traumatic for Madhuri. She lives in one of the most remote areas of Lavasa, in difficult terrain. Goats, cows and buffalo are her companions.
When she started school in 2010, Madhuri was the first of her three siblings to go to an English medium school. At age 8, she was placed in second grade, although she had to master first grade content as well as English before she could tackle second grade material.
Low self-esteem showed in her bowed head, slumped shoulders and inability to make eye contact. But her parents—both uneducated and illiterate—encouraged her.
They want a better life for their daughter. “I am a simple woman who knows how to tend to buffalo and land,” said her mother. “But if Madhuri gets this education, I am sure she will be able to make a good decision about her future.”
Today as a 4th grader, Madhuri is a different child. Confident and bright, she participates in sports, music and arts after school. Now fluent in English, she helps her parents and siblings learn basic phrases.
She loves to study, and describes her teachers as kind and full of new ideas. Madhuri loves dolls, reading, her dog, Bandi, and a black and white cat named Mani. When she thinks about the future, Madhuri imagines that she will grow up and go to work—maybe even in an office—where she will use the English she has learned at Christel House.