When we first met Anjali back in 2014, she wasn’t going to school regularly because she had to stay home and look after her younger siblings while her mother worked.
Her dream was to be a teacher, but that seemed all but impossible.
Anjali’s mother Binda is a widow and a Dalit, or “Untouchable”. In 2010, Binda’s husband committed suicide. She believes that a stint as a migrant worker took a toll on his health and he never recovered. He always complained of headaches. When her husband passed away, she had four children of her own and her sister’s son whom she had adopted to take care of.
Her husband also left behind almost 2 lakhNPR (2000 USD) worth of loans which Binda didn't know he owed to neighbours and relatives. She took another loan to send her oldest son to Malaysia to find work, while unstable conditions at home forced her second son to drop out of high school.
Her two youngest children, Anil and Anjali, were too small to understand about their father’s death. Anjali was particularly close to her father because he doted on her. She was only four when her father passed away and for months she asked for her father.
Binda told us, “My children are called orphans and I hear people humiliating them but it's the children who pacify me and say that I should not worry too much. They see me crying sometimes and they calm me down.”