It’s a small classroom of just ten kids. Specifically, ten girls from extremely challenging backgrounds who now live in an orphanage in Bangalore. Some of them have a parent in prison, two are sisters who witnessed their mother commit suicide, another girl’s relatives tried to marry her off before she turned 13, just so they could get their hands on her “inheritance” – less than $800 that her parents had left in her name. Their stories are horrifying.
But when you see their bright smiles, hear their complaints over homework and listen to them sing songs from their current obsession the movie Frozen, you’ll never guess that these kids have seen so much brokenness. U&I tutors come alongside these children twice a week with one goal – building these children up so they have the emotional and educational resources to succeed in life.
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We maintain a ratio of 1:3 – or less – to ensure that every child forges a special bond with their tutor. Every single U&I class includes one-on-one “affirmations” between the tutor and their kids. “You did a great job focusing,” says one tutor; “You answered the questions brilliantly,” says another. The kids’ smiles get brighter. They sit up a bit straighter. This is what it’s all about – making sure that these children receive the positive reinforcement to become the best versions of themselves. They just need that one conversation, that one affirmation to change the course of their lives.
U&I reaches 850 at-risk children through our 21 centers in 10 cities across India. You can’t really put a number on a child’s heart that was encouraged or a past hurt that was healed. But, sometimes, the results that are not quantifiable are the ones that count the most.