The young, ardent and one of a kind Chandani hails from a family of entertainers that travel across regional borders as a means to make ends meet. Since the age of 7, Chandani was roped into this family business and travelled across India, putting up shows with her father.
Chandani and her family packed their bags yet again but this time, to put up a show in Delhi. A short time after, her father passed away, leaving her as the bread earner for the family at the mere age of 8. Living in the slums, the only viable option that gave a fairly decent monetary amount was rag picking and so she began making a living by rummaging through refuse on the streets while other children her age went to schools and playgrounds.
Life to Chandani was nothing but a test she hadn’t prepared for. The young Indian left no leaf unturned as she tried her luck in every possible job she could get her hands on, including selling flowers and corn, day in and day out, in the scorching heat and the blistering winds on the streets of Delhi but nothing seemed to work for her.
One of the most traumatizing incidents Chandani recalls was the day she was late to go pick up flowers from the market, something she did daily. Since she was late, she had already missed her regular bus and so was waiting for the next one that seemed to take forever to come. But before the bus reached a man in a car lend Chandani a drive to the market since he was headed there too. His generosity that spoke volumes to her was masking an awful scheming with no intention of actually dropping her to the market. “I was so scared and I can’t count my blessings enough for getting out of that car”, recalled Chandani, teary eyed.
Living on the streets of Delhi is sure no easy task with guaranteed ups and downs everyday.
“I promised myself that if I don’t go to school, I’ll at least wear a school uniform” thought Chandani as she saw children going to school every morning while she made her way to selling flowers, running from stray dogs and drunk men on the road.
Soon after, in middle of her jobs, Chandani began going to the bus stop where individuals came to teach the slum children. She learnt about her basic rights and began working with the Child Rights NGO of her locality whenever a minor from her slum was taken away by the police. A short time later, the young Indian was offered a job and went on from becoming a Zilla secretary to the National secretary, all by the age of 18, having helped more than 10,000 children.
The young Indian didn’t stop there. At the age of 18 she began her own venture. ‘Voice of Slums’ an initiative to educate one child from every family and provide them the means to stand on their feet.
This is the journey of an ever inspiring young Indian that battled through hell and left no leaf unturned in transforming her life and the life of others and here is how she did it.