Bulti Hembrom: Mother of Two Leads the Way To Support Children’s Education
A mother powers through to ignite change through education in rural West Bengal
Bulti Hembrom Mardi, a mother of two, resides in a village in West Bengal’s Birbhum district. The primary source of income in the village is farming and daily wage labour, with some even working as cobblers and in kilns. Many villagers hold the belief that their children cannot keep pace with the rapidly advancing society and will eventually be limited to agricultural activities.
Bulti has been associated with Pratham since 2016. She has a daughter named Trisha, studying in Grade 3, and a son named Subhajit, attending Anganwadi (pre-school). Bulti was determined to support her own children and other youngsters in the community with their learning. Being the only woman in the village who had completed secondary education, Bulti had once aspired to study further and secure a job. Early marriage and household responsibilities put a hold on her dreams. She nurtured a strong desire to provide her children with a good education and support their learning journey. When she was introduced to Pratham and its educational initiatives for children, she was thrilled to find new ways to support the children in her community.
When schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bulti assisted the children in her neighborhood with their learning, utilizing the support provided by Pratham through phone calls and messages. Her dedication and commitment inspired other mothers to play an active role in supporting their children’s education at home.
During the lockdown, Pratham engaged directly with families of young children (preschool age and those who were of Grade 1 and 2 age). They were sent activities to do with their children via SMS and WhatsApp. Follow-ups were done via phone calls. Young mothers were encouraged to form their own mother-child groups in the neighbourhood and get together regularly to do activities with their children.
Bulti played a pivotal role in creating a mother’s group in the village. As the leader of this group, she reads and comprehends all the teaching-learning materials and messages from Pratham, subsequently sharing and demonstrating this knowledge with the other mothers. Bulti also extends her support to these mothers, assisting them in conducting educational activities with their children.
Amidst her daily household chores, Bulti prioritizes taking out time for her children’s education and educating other mothers to raise awareness. She strongly believes, “Education is the only tool that can help us keep up with the present time, and if we work together, our community will not be left behind.”