Kynja Babha is a five-year-old girl in the faraway village of Khrang in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. She is the daughter of a broom cultivator, and comes from a below poverty line (BPL) family. Her father has a small broom farm down the slopes on the edge of the village. Kynja has three sisters and one brother – she is the third child. She studies in the nursery class at the aanganwadi centre in Khrang, implemented under the Integrated Child Development Services scheme of the government of India. The 15-year-old aanganwadi centre is run by a single teacher, Teresa Shabong, for the last seven years.

Attired in a torn frock and over-sized gum-boots, Kynja spends a day at the aanganwadi centre.


01-east_khasi_hills_1-AS-Kynja's Day at the Anganwadi.jpg

Kynja arrives at the aanganwadi with an orange
colour strip bag strapped over her head. In the bag,
she hasher slate to write on and a steel plate to
have her mid-day meal


02-east_khasi_hills_2-AS-Kynja's Day at the Anganwadi.jpg

The teacher, Teresa Shabong, has written the Khasi numerals and alphabet on the blackboard. She watches with pride as Kynja, her brightest student, reads it aloud for the rest of the class


03-east_khasi_hills_2-1-AS-Kynja's Day at the Anganwadi.jpg

Kynja’s friend carries in her little brother to attend the aanganwadi classes


04-east_khasi_hills_3-AS-Kynja's Day at the Anganwadi.jpg

Teresa distributes pieces of chalk to the children for their class work


05-east_khasi_hills_4-AS-Kynja's Day at the Anganwadi.jpg

Sitting all by herself in a corner of the
classroom, Kynja does her work rapidly


06-east_khasi_hills_5-AS-Kynja's Day at the Anganwadi.jpg

Kynja does her classwork


07-east_khasi_hills_5-1-AS-Kynja's Day at the Anganwadi.jpg

Kynja is the first in class to run to the teacher to show what she has written on the slate


08-east_khasi_hills_6-AS-Kynja's Day at the Anganwadi.jpg

Teresa teaches Kynja a new word


09east_khasi_hills_7-AS-Kynja's Day at the Anganwadi.jpg

The teacher asks the children to recite a rhyme. Kynja leads the group


10-east_khasi_hills_8-AS-Kynja's Day at the Anganwadi.jpg

Mid-day meals are a huge incentive for children
to attend the
aanganwadi


11-east_khasi_hills_9-AS-Kynja's Day at the Anganwadi.jpg

Helped by her teacher, Kynja washes her hands before the mid-day meal is served


12-east_khasi_hills_10-AS-Kynja's Day at the Anganwadi.jpg

Kynja is very hungry: “Why aren’t they washing their hands quickly?”


13-east_khasi_hills_11-AS-Kynja's Day at the Anganwadi.jpg

Teresa Shabong serves the food


14-12-AS-Kynja's Day at the Anganwadi.jpg

Kynja eats with her friend


15-13-AS-Kynja's Day at the Anganwadi.jpg

Kynja Babha finishes her meal. Her day at
the aanganwadi ends