Sunday, September 11

Hope Comes to children in farmer' suicide belt

This story of a girl who had to discontinue her studies after her father committed suicide, by Amrita Chaudhry appeared in Chandigarh edition of The Indian Express on September 8. Her sad story had a silver lining though, with a visit of a documentary film maker couple. The hope they rekindled in her life needs to be replicated in the region.

Thirteen year old Jaspreet Kaur, a resident of Chotiyan village in Sangrur district, wants to become a doctor when she grows up. A normal aspiration for a teenager. Only, life has not been normal for Jaspreet, whose father, a farmer caught in the debt trap, had committed suicide when she was eight. And with that all dreams of future as a doctor were shattered. Jaspreet had to discontinue her studies. But now there is hope.
Tom Deiters and Suzanne Nievaart - a couple from The Netherlands - have not only got Jaspreet admitted to SEABA International Public School, Lehragaga but have also promised to sponsor her education throughout.
Kawaljit Singh Dhindsa, Managing Director tells the belt is full of cases of farmer suicides. For Jaspreet, tragedy stuck twice. First, when her uncle committed suicide after failing to repay the loan the family had taken from the ahrtiya. The burden kept multiplying and when her father, Bhatti Singh, also failed to repay it, he too committed suicide leaving behind no male earning member in the family.
Jaspreet's grandfather, Mohinder Singh is so shaken up that he has withdrwan himself from everything. Jaspreet dropped out of school so that her brothers, Harjinder(12) and Sandip (10), could continue studying.
But this year, two students from the University of Amsterdam came to study the profile of this farmer suicide ridden belt, Jaspreet was once again sent to school and is now studying in class seven.
Back home Tom studies political science whereas Suzzane is a student of social anthropology and the two are presenlty making a documentary on farmer suicides. Suzzane adds, "chilldren having to give up education due to family members committing suicides is common in this belt and we are just trying to help."
Lauding their action Dhindsa says though both Tom and Suzzane themselves are studentsand have to work to pay for their education, yet they have promised to support Jaspreet. Suzzane has even promised to get sponsorship for more such students once back home.
Jaspreet meanwhile is picking up the threads of her life once again. She does not know why her father or her uncle committed suicide but she does know that, "I was stopped from going to school for my family could no longer afford our education." And now Jaspreet is happy living at her paternal village Jwarwala for, "the school bus does not go to my village but stops at this village so I shifted to my nanke."
Motivated by Jaspreet's case, Dhindsa, who is also the convenor of the NGO, Society for Education in Backward Areas (SEABA), has launched a drive to appeal to people interested in supporting education of children like Jaspreet or even other poor children. Dhindsa says "We have decided to appeals for participation in education of such children either on annual basis or on life time basis. If a person desires he can deposit Rs 1 lakh in one go and this will ensure a minimum of ten years of education for the child in our school. If someone wants to sponsor the child on an yearly basis then the amount comes to around Rs 15000 per year and includes school fees, books, school uniform and the transportation of the students."
Dhindsa says, "We are also trying to boost the morale of these children through therapeutic forms like theatre and sports."
Those interested in helping may contact Kawaljit Singh Dhindsa, Convenor, SEABA, at +911676273498 or Jatinder Preet co-ordinator Media Artists at, 9815512084 or email at or

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post. I am keen to donate money to such organization.