The Guiding Light


In all folklores, there’s always someone who stands up in times of need, bends the story arc and is celebrated as the hero. 3 year old Aasu from Palghar found her hero and her light, both literally and metaphorically, in her own sister, Roshni.

Aasu’s mother passed away when she was 1 and with her father away for contractual labour most of the times, the burden of caring for Aasu and her 4 siblings fell on their grandparents. As a grandparent, taking care of 5 children and their nutritional needs could be quite a task and soon, Aasu became malnourished. She was diagnosed during a routine screening in her village in November 2018. We advised the family to get her enrolled in the malnutrition treatment program and bring her over to the weekly OTC’s. With the grandparents hard pressed between running the household and taking care of the children, Aasu’s 10 year old elder sister Roshni, took it upon herself to get her treated and save her life.

Roshni would bring Aasu to the OTC every week. She learned to take care of her nutritional needs, maintaining a clean environment, purifying drinking water and identifying common diseases. Every day she’d get up in the morning, fetch water, fix a nutrionally wholesome meal and take care of her 4 sisters. Between all this, she also found time to play her favourite game, Langdi. It was through Roshni’s efforts that Aasu recovered completely in December 2018 and continues to be healthy. It isn’t a surprise that Aasu and Roshni are inseparable.

Often for the hero, bending the story arc comes at a cost. Roshni had to drop out of school and missed out on her education. But if there’s one thing that we’ve learnt about Roshni, it is that she isn’t someone who’d give up easily. She plans to go back to school soon and become a doctor when she grows up. And not only that, she is going to ensure that all her sisters too go to school. A tall ask for a 10 year old? Yes. But Roshni is already quite adept at forging her own path once she as decided where to go.