Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Coming up with a birthday

There were plenty of non-profit schools around the health center my grandmother ran for YMCA but the number of children going to them was unexplainably low. After meeting with parents it was found that illiteracy prevented them from filling out the forms required to enroll their children into these schools. So my grandma got volunteers to help fill up these forms. Lack of reading and writing skills were not the only issue. Many details were unknown and one of these was often the child’s birthdate. Here is the way many birthdays were ‘discovered’ -

“What is his birthday?”

“Ok, what month was he born”

“Was it hot or cold, Durga Puja, Holi or Christmas time?”

Then the child was looked at to assess the year he was born.

The best part followed as the child was asked his favourite number and that was assigned as his birthday.

The parent was given a piece of paper with the date on it and asked to keep it in a plastic bag – to remember this was the child’s birthdate and use it for all forms hence forth.

2500 forms were filled and many children passed out to become nurses, worked in insurance companies and started their own businesses. As my grandma put it – they were not stupid, all they needed was a chance. And of course having your favourite number as your birthday must have helped.


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