An absent father, a bed-ridden mother, a recently widowed sister, and three younger siblings to care for – hardship and tragedy seem to follow Baiju. But, Baiju, a bright young man and recent graduate of Bloom India Primary School, is defying the odds.
Baiju’s father is a taxi driver and never contributed in supporting his family financially or as a real father figure. As a taxi driver you take short term contracts without any job security or employment benefits. A taxi driver can bring home about 724 rupees a day which is equivalent to $10 daily. But, then he still has to pay for gas, car insurance, any car loans and maintenance. Unfortunately, Baiju’s father rarely came home after his routes and only gave the family very little money to support their needs. So Baiju’s mother sold flowers at the local market as a street vendor in order to make ends meet.
As a flower vendor, all his mother needs is a basket and a little water so the cost seems minimal. Often the flowers are sold for about $0.33 to those who want to give them as inexpensive gifts or for religious ceremonies or observances. On a good day, she can make 200-300 rupees a day which is about $3-$4 dollars a day. But the reality is that the flowers can spoil quickly as the day wears on so the price has to be reduced to about $0.10 cents, and she loses much of the profits.
Unfortunately, Baiju’s mother became very ill and bedridden and is no longer able to try to sell flowers at the market. Biaju’s older sister tragically lost her husband in an accident. She now financially supports the entire family: Baiju, their mother, and their three younger sisters. Normally, under these financial burdens, Baiju would never be able to continue his education.
It has been one blow after another, but Baiju has continued to do his best. Baiju received distinctions and an A grade of 84% in the rigorous 10th grade state board exams. He accomplished this great achievement, despite the harsh restrictions of the lockdown in India.
He didn’t have to do it alone. During the lockdown, Headmaster Gerard and all the teachers went into full gear to ensure that these students did not lose too much time or quality in their education. Bloom India distributed laptops to all the 10th graders. And, the teachers worked extra to prepare all of the necessary assignments and questions to prepare for the board exams.
Bloom India is committed to helping Baiju finish his pre-university course (PUC) in commerce studies. Because of his family’s struggles, we are providing extra courses in accounting software and commerce, so that Baiju can get a good job as an accounting clerk, bookkeeper, or auditing/tax clerk. With the help of this community, Baiju can provide a better life for his mother and sisters.