Ganga N Soni

SUTHARON KI DHANI

Ganga Devi and Soni

Anganwadi worker and Sahayika

DOB: 10/06/1992 and ? (around 45 years of age)

If ever there is an instance of the Nand Ghar having a telling, tangible, positive effect on a community, it is the Nand Ghar at Badka, in Sutharon Ki Dhani.

From 2013 onwards, the Anganwadi was run from a small room in the home of Ganga Devi, who is all of 25 years. The number of children attending the Nand Ghar, she says, has tripled, and she commends the government in partnering with Vedanta in building the Nand Ghar that stands like a shining beacon in a stretch of desolate and barren sand.

Ganga Devi, in comparison to most of the other Anganwadi workers in Barmer, has had a privileged background. Her father was an employee of the local electricity board in Barmer. Her two brothers are both gainfully employed, one in a bank and the other in a private school as a teacher as he pursues his B Sc. Ganga, after her marriage 7 years ago is now pursuing her MA. And yet even in this family, her elder sister somehow found herself not going to school after passing her 5th standard.

While rural India has witnessed a transformation in increased awareness of the evils of child marriage and the importance of educating girls on par with boys, remnants of the old order continue to rear its mane.

Ganga’s sahayika, Soni, has only studied up to the 5th standard but her cheerfulness and her bearing belie her educational handicap. Her three sisters did not pursue their studies beyond the 8th standard. Only, her brother, the youngest sibling in her family is now pursuing a BA, almost as if her parents waited for a male child for them to lavish their resources on.

Soni personifies the hospitality and large-heartedness of rural India as she often insists on taking visitors to her home located across the field she owns. She says her family donated the land for the Nand Ghar to be built in the location it is now. This has ensured that the community around the Nand Ghar has taken ownership and pride in not only its pleasingly modern look but also in its success.