Bala has been working at Motia Khan since February 2016. She is in charge of coordinating the morning school and is a group teacher of the afternoon school. Together with Agostina, she ensures care that the staff has everything they need to excel at their work and that each child is healthy and has what all that’s required to be able to attend school daily.
Neeti is a morning school teacher, and has worked at Motia Khan since the day we opened our doors, in November 2014. In addition to her sweetness, warmth, and dedication to her students, Neeti endured the most difficult period for Motia Khan: when the school was a single room inside the shelter, full of rats and bugs, and lacking basic necessities--like a bathroom! Despite all this, she never lost her patience and the desire to give her best to our kids.
Like Neeti, Noshana (or Noshi, as everyone calls her) started working as a teacher for our youngest students in November 2014. She had to look for creative ways to entertain the kids since they had never set foot in a school before, and didn’t know what it meant to sit down and listen to a teacher. In those days, they’d come in, sit for five minutes, and then be off: right outside to run around again. Noshi would head out to look for them and to get them involved in another activity, and on it would go. It took months until the children adapted to class, and it was due to Noshi patience that they were able to. What makes Noshi special, however, besides this endless patience, is her sense of humor: she always makes everyone laugh and never comes to work with anything but a smile on her face.
Shazlee has been working at Motia Khan since the end of 2016. She is the afternoon school teacher for the youngest kids. She is very sweet and loves to dance Bollywood. The kids always ask her to dance and she knows all the steps. Shazlee has a four-year-old daughter who loves to visit Motia Khan School, and her mother brings her often to spend time with the other children.
Tarannum is the cook at Motia Khan School. She’s worked with us since the kitchen opened, in April 2016. Three of her children attend the school daily. Tarannum loves her job; before she came to cook for the Motia Khan kids, her only occupation was taking care of her children, and as she had no income, their day-to-day life was very difficult. All the jobs available to her came with long hours and a very low salary. Since working at Motia Khan School, her self-esteem has improved greatly, since she receives constant praise every day because her food is delicious!
Rita is the kitchen assistant and works with Tarannum. They take care of every aspect of preparing two delicious meals for 140 people every single day! Rita lives in a shelter with her children and her friend Ramshree. One day she came to our school to ask for a job because she wanted to be part of the staff. She went through a few hours of testing and got along so well with everyone that the job became hers. Rita is loving and patient and takes great care of all the children.
Ramshree has been working with us since 2016 and is in charge of keeping the school clean and tidy. She is a widow and had to leave her village because her neighbors thought that, because she had been widowed twice, she gave bad luck! So she came with her children to Delhi, with no contacts and no prospects for work. Luckily, she found a place to live in the same shelter where Rita lives, and together they found work at Motia Khan. When they first arrived, her daughter, Rakhi, did not speak; after a year of coming to our school every day, she said her first word. Today she is a happy and confident girl who talks a lot and dances even more!
Nazreen was the last to join the group. She is Tarannum's sister and when she became a widow a few years ago, she was left caring for her three children on her own. Nazreen makes every sacrifice possible to care for them, even working two jobs. In one of them, she is a cleaner; at Motia Khan, she is our health agent. What does it mean to be a health agent? Nazreen keeps abreast on the pregnancies, new births, diseases and vulnerable situations in the shelter. In response to her investigations, we buy medicines, call the doctor, ask for an appointment at the hospital, or initiate legal action if necessary. Her work is fundamental because it is the bridge between the families of Motia Khan Shelter and the school. If a child has an ear infection, Nazreem warns us, Bala buys the medicine, and Nazreen gives it to the child’s parents, along with instructions on how to use it, and an explanation of how to avoid similar infections in the future. When she knew we wanted her to join the team, Nazreem began to cry with emotion! We did, too, because we love her very much.
Munna is the father of one of our students and is a cycle-rickshaw puller. Even though he worked from dawn to dusk on the streets of Delhi his income was not enough to support his family because he had to pay a significant portion to rent his rickshaw. So we decided to buy him his own rickshaw, and to give him a job as the official driver of Motia Khan School. Every day, he transports the youngest kids and those who, for whatever reason, cannot make it on foot from their homes to the school. He also takes Rita to buy vegetables for preparing the shelter’s food, and takes care of those who visit Motia Khan for the first time so they can find the school without problems.
Tina was born in Buenos Aires and moved to India in 2014. Together with a group of French expatriates she founded Motia Khan School. In 2017, Tina had to leave India and now lives in Indonesia, but she travels every two months to visit the school and works constantly with Bala to coordinate the school and to ensure that it constantly improves its day-to-day operations.