Rubini was born in a poverty ridden family, from the Arunthathiyar caste. Her father worked as a Manual Scavenger in the Tirchirapalli city corporation while her mother was a domestic worker. Despite her lack of command in English, Rubina, was neither shy nor discouraged rather confidently tried to interact with the few words that she had memorised.
Savithri, the Enlight Education volunteer in Trichy was always intrigued by Rubini’s interest to speak in English. Observing Rubini’s interest in English, she subjected Rubina to a structured process; assessed her competency levels in Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, analysed the core issues and developed a plan to support Rubini.
Rubini was linked to the “Nanum Vasikuren - I am reading” group. This is a concept that helps an individual’s to develop competencies in reading and writing through a set of structured activities. Rubini commenced with learning to read words and then gradually practiced reading sentences. To uphold her interest she was encouraged to read news items on cinema and sports, her favourite subjects. She began practicing reading the news headlines and soon she was reading the entire news. Her reading and writing skills developed day by day. This was noticed by the School Headmaster, Mr.Abhraham who appreciated her effort which motivated her to try harder.
To strengthen her capabilities in reading and writting in english, Savithri linked Rubini with Priyadarshni, the ‘Kutty teacher – Little Teacher’ and student of class 9 in the same school. Priyadarshini, who had higher competencies in reading and writing english now became her buddy/guide and supported Rubini in her efforts to improvise reading and writing skills in english. Rubini is happy today with her renewed skills of reading and writing in English and wants to support others !
In Trichy, Tamil Nadu, Enlight project engages with 220 girl children belonging to Arunthathiyar community, which is considered to be in the lower most rung of the caste system and their caste based occupation is 'Manual Scavenging'. Even today they are often treated as untouchables and are stigmatised. Though children from this community have gained access to school their competencies levels in Reading, Writing and basic Arithmetic is deplorable due to various reasons.