Vasvi’s (name changed) father is a landless agricultural labourer and her mother volunteers for a well-known voluntary organisation in the village. The family can hardly manage to get two square meals a day.
Vasvi’s village is isolated, at the extreme southern end of the state of Gujarat in the hilly tribal block of Dharampur.
Vasvi was good at her studies and she dared to dream of becoming a nurse, probably the first nurse from her village, but the fees for the nursing course were out of the reach of her tribal family. She was accepted into a nursing college in Surat but the family had to borrow money from various sources including a local moneylender who charged an exorbitant rate of interest.
At this juncture, The AWARE Foundation was approached for help by the voluntary organisation where Vasvi’s mother worked. AWARE met Vasvi at her college and confirmed the authenticity of the case by visiting her village and family. During this period, AWARE paid part of the fee as an interim relief to Vasvi’s family.
AWARE, however, decided to take a different path in this case. As Vasvi belonged to a Scheduled Tribe (ST) family, she was entitled to a full scholarship covering all educational expenses from the Tribal Welfare Department of the State Government. AWARE pursued the matter at the college, at the district level (Surat) and at the State capital (Gandhinagar) to ensure that she got her aid grant swiftly and without corruption. In a reasonable time Vasvi received a grant of INR 108,000/- (approx ₤1,350) for the first two years of her college education.
Thus, with a little ‘bridge support’ of AWARE's money, but with a lot of perseverance, we helped a tribal girl fulfil her dream without letting her family fall into the abyss of the debt trap of a private moneylender.
This is an example of helping poor people access their entitlements with appropriate technical support and only small financial aid.