The story of Asha and Rinku is a lovestory that is, however tragic, filled with hope: Rinku Ram, born on May 17, 1989 in Punjab fell in love at first sight with Asha who came into this world on March 11, 1990 in Hanuman Garh, a village in Rajasthan. What Rinku Ram could not know at first sight was that his loved one had been blind since the age of 5, due to an untreated infection. Rinku himself has a disablement in his left leg, a consequence of suffering from polio when he was one years old, and can only walk with crutches. His parents and four siblings, a poor family, strictly disapproved of the wedding of the two lovers. When the couple beat the odds and got married seven years ago, Rinku Rams family shit down all contact with him.
The newly-weds found shelter in a room in Ashas mothers house and gave birth to three healthy kids: son Manav (born June 5, 2010) and the two daughters Taniya (April 5, 2012) and Shalo (August 19, 2014). Living conditions for a family of the lower caste in Rajasthan are tough, as for people like them without a proper education the possibilities of finding work are scarce. Through relatives Rinku learned of better options in Nepal and so he moved to Kathmandu. He learned to mend shoes, sold his services on the street and managed to provide for his family.
And Kathmandu is where Rinku and I met. He gave me a smile whenever our paths crossed on the street and one day we started talking (He has taught himself not only Nepalese but also some basic English). I was fascinated by his lust for life curiosity and open-mindedness, despite him being marked by poverty. He told me all he wanted to be was a “good person”, who could protect his family and be there for them. In 2014 he gave me a little booklet by the title of “Honest Living” (viewpoints from some philosophers and important figures from various countries, religions and centuries) and I promised to bring it back and discuss it with him on my next visit in 2015. He also gave me the email address of a friend so we could stay in touch.
Unfortunately, we never got to discuss the booklet. On April 25, 2015 Nepal was hit by a terrible earthquake (that we have written about last year). I was not only afraid for the student and their families in Nepal that we already supported through EINFACH MACHEN e.V. but also for Rinku who was unreachable. After a few fearful weeks I managed to find out that he was alive through the friend whose email I had gotten from Rinku. He had lost what little he had when he had made his way out of Nepal to Rajasthan. He was jobless again and was thinking how to provide for his family now. As if that wasn’t enough turmoil, his youngest daughter caught a severe and plodding pneumonia. He realized that he had to stay in Rajasthan in the future to care for his family not only financially but also personally.
We encouraged him and the board of EINFACH MACHEN e.V. spontaneously donated 300€ as earthquake emergency relief and reviewed how he and his family could be continuously supported. He received the money in Rajasthan, provided for his family and even could enroll his son in an elementary school. Rinku is very keen on enabling his children to have a better life than him.
EINFACH MACHEN e.V. also has found a family who took a sponsorship for Tanija, Rinkus elder daughter. Now she also can attend school and find a base for a better future.
Right now, Rinku earns the money for his family in Kathmandu again.
In its meeting of members in October EINFACH MACHEN e.V. has decided to support Rinku to work in India and live with his family. His children should, just like our children, have a right to get an education.
Rinku has come up with a plan and he wants to set up a business selling and mending clothes and shoes in his region.
EINFACH MACHEN e.V. intends to provide the family with a little vehicle, so he can offer his services in a broader region and can earn a sufficient income in India. The investment for a three- or four-wheel cart amounts to circa 65k Indian Rupees, the equivalent of 850€.
We are also looking for a sponsor for his son Manav, who would donate an annual amount of 260€ for school tuition, school uniforms, learning material and transportation from March 2016 onwards. The Indian school year runs from April to March.
His youngest daughter, Shalo, needs to regain strength after her long illness. As the financial strain has been increased by the treatments, even small donations do help to provide the family with healthy food like fruit and vegetables. One kilo of apples, e.g., can be bought for 150 Rupees (a little over 2 €).
Both Rinku and Asha have incredible strength and a firm will and want to be able to care for their family by themselves in the future.
I will personally visit the family in Rajasthan in February 2016, review the situation there and talk to the principal of the Royal Bachpan School to make sure the school tuitions can be transferred to the school directly from our EINFACH MACHEN account.
Our second project, the first in India: EINFACH MACHEN wants to start supporting the family of Asha and Rinku Ram so they can support themselves. We are absolutely sure that a little financial aid and the sponsorship for the children will enable the family to make it on their own in the long run.
Gabriela, Goa, India, January 2016
We are happy to receive donations for the family of Asha and Rinku Ram! When transferring money please note the cause “Ram Family, India” on the form and on the donation receipt. Thank you very much for your support!
Update March 2017
In February 2016, we visited the Ram family in their home in Rajasthan. The two bigger kids attended a good school thanks to the help of two German sponsors and we supported Rinku, the father, with a small scooter. With that he started a small delivery business and could live with his family and take care of them. We could also help the youngest daughter, Shalu, to get the necessary heart surgery. She is in good health and can live a normal live.
Living together with the big family of Asha’s mother had become an enormous challenge for the Ram family. One has to understand the caste system in India. Rinku as a severely handicapped man and Asha as a blind woman are at the bottom of this system. Unfortunately, this is also true for their own family where they felt massively mistreated. Asha got a depression and tried to kill herself two times. Desperate and looking for a solution, they decided to take a new start in Nepal, leaving India behind. Rinku knew already he could make a living there for his family repairing shoes on the street.
After a long and hard trip by train and bus, they reached Nepal in November 2016. They live in a very simple room in a slum among other Indian families now. We visited them there two times already (Gabriela in November 2016 & Katja and Gabriela in March 2017). Rinku was deeply ashamed and felt he did not deserve our help anymore after having to leave India. We have never seen him so sad and desperate. We told him he should not feel guilty or ashamed and supported him to buy new crutches, warm clothes and fruits for the family to begin with.
For his two older kids, we have found a good school close to the slum in the meantime, where they were accepted in March 2017 with Gabriela being present. They are very happy, and we will continue to support the family who now can finally live in peace.