Priyanka’s Story: Catching up at Camp

Imagine a 12-year-old girl in rural India. She gets up at 5:00 am each day to begin her household chores and finish her homework before school starts. She loves math but struggles with reading. Then, one day, she has to leave. Her father, who works as a laborer, moves his entire family to the city for several months, where they work at construction sites hoping to earn enough money to get by for the year. When the girl returns to school, she has fallen behind. This cycle repeats itself, and with each passing year, it becomes harder and harder for her to catch up.

This girl is Priyanka Meena.

When Pratham’s Read India program came to her village—in the Lalsot district of Rajasthan—Priyanka was excited. She attended the learning camp held at her school every day. By focusing on Priyanka’s current skill level rather than her age, Pratham was able to help her catch up. Testing showed drastic improvement from the start to the end of the 40-day camp. The hands-on activities added a new level of enjoyment. Priyanka’s penchant for math increased, and she even developed an interest in reading.

Even though the camp has ended, Priyanka’s rekindled enthusiasm for learning has not. In her precious free time between chores and school, Priyanka devours the books and worksheets Pratham staff have left for the students. Now, Priyanka can’t wait to return to the city—but not as a construction worker. She looks around furtively before divulging this secret, “I want to be a teacher like Seema ma’am who taught me during the camp. And I want to teach my favorite subject: math!”