How can we get school dropouts to go back?

I met Kavitha, a chirpy girl with a winning smile, on the first day of the dropout survey carried out by volunteers of Child Rights and You. “School hogthira?” I asked, “Do you go to school?” She looked up and nodded, half-yes, half-no, then shyly turned away. “Tamil teriyuma?” I egged on. It turned out she did. For the next half hour she became my translator, … Continue reading How can we get school dropouts to go back?

A silicon tide lifts many boats

Behind the multi-storeyed IBM House that looms over Bannerghatta Road in Bengaluru is a maze of bylanes that form Sudarshan Layout. Families and their belongings spill out of the tiny one-storey buildings onto the narrow lanes. Most of the residents in the slums here have not studied beyond primary school and make a living as labourers and domestic helps, but their children are pursuing a … Continue reading A silicon tide lifts many boats

‘When we ask for our passbooks, they threaten to throw us out’

Twenty-four-year old Shanti looked at the calculator perplexed. According to the trade unionist standing before her, who had just computed her wage break-up, she was supposed to be earning Rs. 17,440 a month as a contract pourakarmika under the city corporation, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). “Rs. 17,000, not Rs. 1,700?” she asks to confirm. According to Shanti, she and nearly 50 other women from … Continue reading ‘When we ask for our passbooks, they threaten to throw us out’

Under Bengaluru’s trees

Did you know the tamarind tree came from Ethiopia two thousand years ago? Or that the vast majority of Bengaluru’s avenue trees are native to South America? In fact, so many commonly-used plants have come from that continent, the famous botanist and Kannada writer B.G.L. Swamy wrote a book called Namme Hotteyalli South America (South America in our stomach). If you’ve ever stopped in the middle … Continue reading Under Bengaluru’s trees